Disney researchers have created a generator that can create pieces of paper that when manipulated can emit enough power to light up an LED and turn on an eBook screen.
"This simplicity leads to countless applications enabling interactivity everywhere and anytime. My overall goal is to make the whole world interactive, and creating ubiquitous power supplies is a key step in that direction," researcher Ivan Poupyrev, said, fastcodesign.com reported.
The paper is made up of material that holds a "semi-permanent" electric charge. One of the charge holding electrets is Teflon. When Teflon is rubbed against and ordinary sheet of paper it creates the opposite charge. With this new material, the two are manually rubbed together, harnessing that energy.
The material is low in amps and very high in voltage. Voltage can be imagined as a "blitz of electrons" that is not infinite, but can certainly generate a considerable amount of power. This makes the device more efficient than a watch battery.
"A small battery source would be depleted almost immediately in most of the applications that we designed for our power generators, and that would make them unfeasible from the product point of view: You get something that works once and then stops," Poupyrev, said. "With our tech, you do not have to worry about it."
Since the generators are made of paper, they are amazingly cheap to produce and can be easily printed out.
"[This] makes it possible to add digital interactivity to objects on truly massive scales, millions of units of packaging, posters, books, magazines, game boards, toys, tickets, maps, anything basically for free," Poupyrev wrote.
The article suggested applying the technology to clothing, which would continually harvest energy as the wearer moved their body.
"If Paper Generators prove anything, it's that ingenuity can be just as important as scientific breakthrough," the article said.