U-TENG is a tiny device made of plastic and tape that generates electricity when the two materials are brought together.
The electrical energy produced by clapping hands or tapping feet is detected by a wired, external circuit and then stored in a capacitor or a battery.
The invention now also has a wireless version called the W-TENG, which uses utilizes a combination of Teflon and a multi-part fiber containing the ultra-thin material graphene.
W-TENG, which has a maximum capacity of 3,000 volts, is able to generate an electric field that can transmit energy to up to 3 meters.
“It cannot only give you energy, but you can use the electric field also as an actuated remote,” Sai Sunil Mallineni, the study’s author noted. “For example, you can tap the W-TENG and use its electric field as a ‘button’ to open your garage door, or you could activate a security system — all without a battery, passively and wirelessly.”
While the research team is currently working on finding a more environmentally-friendly alternative to Teflon, they are already in talks with industrial partners to develop practical applications of the technology.