Hamsters in jackets create electricity

Scientists have produced tiny jackets for hamsters to wear when they run, in a bid to solve the energy crisis.

The boffins say the jackets - which have nano-generators attached - can be used to convert irregular biomechanical energy into electricity.

Prof Zhong Lin Wang, of Georgia University's Nano Research Group hopes that one day the tech could be used to capture power produced by humans, possibly by having the nano-generators implanted.

Unfortunately at the moment it would take over 1,000 running hamsters to power your mobile phone ... and you will never fit all of them in your pocket will you?

"Using nanotechnology, we have demonstrated ways to convert even irregular biomechanical energy into electricity," said Lin Wang.

The nanogenerator jacket produces power using the piezoelectric effect, a phenomenon in which certain materials – such as zinc oxide wires – produce electrical charges when they are bent and then relaxed. 

The running and scratching of the hamster flexes the nanowires in the jacket, producing tiny amounts of alternating electrical current. 

Integrating four nanogenerators on the hamster’s jacket the boffins were able to generate up to 0.5 nanoamps.

"This technology can convert any mechanical disturbance into electrical energy," Lin Wang added.

"We believe this is the first demonstration of using a live animal to produce current with nanogenerators,

"This study shows that we really can harness human or animal motion to generate current."

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