Paper cutting energy harvesting

Many people are familiar with origami, a traditional art form based on the folding of paper. Less familiar is the Japanese and Chinese art of paper cutting that can result in delicate and complex designs. This traditional paper cutting served as the inspiration for a new technology that may generate the power needed for wearable Health Tech devices in the future.

Researchers in China and the U.S. have created a lightweight power source made from sustainable materials. Paper is coated with thin layers of graphite, gold, and plastic film. As the grid-shaped device is compressed and released, it converts the motion to electricity through triboelectric (static electricity) nanogenerators. With just a few minutes of motion, it is able to create 1 volt of power, which is sufficient to perform useful work. The design is much lighter and less dense than traditional triboelectric technologies.

Simply putting one of these devices in your wallet could generate power as you walk, helping provide electricity for a smartwatch or other wearable devices. This could help your devices last much longer between charges, which in turn would make them more convenient to use.