back to article Graphene foam is the future of IoT power, maybe

A group of Scottish engineers claim to have come up with a new way to harvest the electricity wasted by everyday human movement: electrically conductive foam. The team from the University of West Scotland reported their findings in a recently published paper detailing the addition of three-dimensional graphene (3DG) foam to …

  1. nematoad Silver badge

    Uh, oh.

    "...a reliable and cost-effective energy harvesting power source for autonomous sensors and electronics,"

    Using humans as some kind of battery?

    Where have I heard that before?

    This sounds like something straight out of the Matrix.

  2. K

    "measuring their unique temporal pressure profile"

    What a polite way of saying "We'll be using your weight to identify you".

    I can then see this being used by the Smart Meeting Room, to determine how many Chocolate Digestives they'll allow to be consumed in this meeting!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Self winding

    Let's patent the concept of attaching self winding springs to every appendage, and the human jaw (chewing and of course talking).

    And then scrape and sell all that personalized data.

  4. Graham Dawson Silver badge

    When a human expends energy to move, it is not "wasted", but necessary. What these technologies do, by extracting energy from those movements, is increase the amount of energy a person must expend in order to move around.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Attach transducers to the springs in office chairs, everytime somebody sits in a chair in a meeting you get free electricity

      And the heavier the person, the greater the energy generated - so a strategic advantage for certain countries

  5. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    The basic idea is not new.

    I think it was in France a good few years ago where there was an experiment with paving tiles that moved slightly underfoot. However it was realised that even slight movement caused some people to stumble - especially elderly or blind people.

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: The basic idea is not new.

      You're probably thinking of Pavegen, a British company that's been banging on about generating electricity from footsteps for ages. The last time I looked at them they stated that each footfall generated 7 joules of energy. Even at a military double time pace, which most people do not walk at, that's only 21 watts from a tile, or 2 days continuous footfall to generate one unit of electricity. Electricity prices may have gone up lately, but not that much.

      When I did the calculations, given Pavegen's estimate of how long the tiles would last, by the time the tiles wore out the most you would have recouped would be ~25% of the tile cost(*) if you were getting retail prices for your power. As you'd only get wholesale prices in reality you'd lose most of your money. At best this is an attraction generating gimmick, it's certainly no way to generate meaningful amounts of power. Adding graphene for the latest woo doesn't change things, and as remarked you're laying yourself open for all sorts of litigation for accidents and possibly breach of privacy.

      (*) And that's ignoring cost of installing them.

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: The basic idea is not new.

        And I found this Register article on Pavegen by Lewis Page back in 2015.

        TL;DR: he was not impressed.

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