No batteries? No problem. How would you like to have electronic toys that don’t need batteries? These toys are powered by friction. They’re called TENG toys and they’re becoming a thing.
|Nanotechnology could give us battery-free electronic toys|
Given their huge potential, more than 60 nanotechnology research groups worldwide (see: “Proposed standards for triboelectric nanogenerators could facilitate comparisons“) have now begun to develop triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs) for harvesting energy from mechanical vibrations. TENGs convert ambient mechanical energy into electricity for powering wearable electronics, sensor networks, implantable medical devices and other small systems. TENGs utilize charges arising from friction similar to the static we experience on dry winter days; and by nanostructuring the materials in a TENG device, the produced energy could be amplified by increasing the contact area of the surfaces. In a step toward the commercialization of TENG devices, researchers in Korea have presented a novel approach that uses TENG technology to develop battery-free, self-powered electronic toys. “Our proposed TENG toys – a smart clapping toy (SCT-TENG) and a smart duck toy (SDT-TENG) – are eco-friendly and safe for children,” Arunkumar Chandrasekhar, a Postdoctoral Fellow in Prof. Sang-Jae Kim’s Nano-Materials & Systems Lab at Jeju National University, South Korea, tells Nanowerk. “They work in contact-separation mode, utilizing triboelectrification and electrostatic induction to harness biomechanical energy These devices exhibit excellent bio-mechanical energy harvesting performance with long-term stability.”