Disney Research’s Method for Electricity from Paper

Disney Research: Paper as Electrical SourceDisney Research and Carnegie Mellon University today published its findings on how its team was able to produce and harvest electrical energy through by rubbing and even tapping specially formulated paper and a method so simple, even a child can reproduce it — as demonstrated by the sample video.

The only special requirement for the electrical generator is a thin, flexible sheet of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), commonly known as Teflon. That sheet is then placed between two conductive layers, such as sheets of metallized polyester, that serve as electrodes.

Disney reports the resulting current is very low (measuring only hundreds of amperes), but the voltage is quite high, able to power a broad variety of devices such as LED arrays, e-ink displays, sound buzzers and infrared communication devices. The inexpensive and simple method for producing electricity without conventional sources is hoped to be used for interactive elements in books, posters and other printed materials. The process itself can be directly printed using conventional printers.

Disney Research will be presenting its findings at the ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST), taking place in St. Andrews, Scotland, between October 8 – 11, 2013. For additional information, visit the Disney Research project page.

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