South Korean Concept Tablet Charges up Using Finger Energy, Design Gets Fujitsu Award
As new generation of smartphones with touch ability and tablets appear, features that focus on fast processing and media capabilities drain the batteries of the respective products. While market leaders such as Samsung currently produce products with a battery life of a few hours when using them, innovators have come up with a new way to deal with the problem: Finger Energy. This concept tablet with virtually unlimited power capabilities won the Judge’s Special Award in the overall Fujitsu Design Awards 2011.
Awards like these are one way for market leaders to spot innovative projects, and if they believe that they are profitable, the developers are presented with an opportunity to work with the company. Designers Yonggu Do, Jun-se Kim and Eun-ha Seo have been presented with this opportunity by winning the award at ‘A Life with Future Computing’ competition.
It is called the Ecopad, and the idea behind it is very simple. Whenever the tablet is touched, a nano-piezoelectric film placed under the screen ‘generates energy when the fingers hit the screen’. The term sounds much harder than it really is; in simple words, piezoelectricity is the charge which accumulates in certain solid materials in response to applied mechanical stress. Since the average smartphones and tablets user touches the screen with his finger over 10,000 times a day, collecting these charges is not a problem for the Ecopad. In fact, the tablet has no adapter for electricity and solely relies on this mechanism. The developers have proved that this charging method is autonomous by using the power consuming Android Gingerbread OS on their tablet.
The developers have simply summarized their product a sentence, “Electricity is generated when the user presses the touchscreen of this PC, which can power itself. The design is environmentally-friendly and technically viable.”
However, experts say that such a tablet won’t be released anytime soon and that the Ecopad may stay as a concept model for now. It is a clever process to recharge battery but the efficiency of this process still has to be increased to make a fully autonomous tablet. On the supplier side the manufacturers also have to reduce the power consumption of the smartphones and tablets – something which Samsung has tried with their Super AMOLED technology that reflects sunlight for screen display.
It is also possible that future tablets would not only rely on finger energy, but also add other options such as solar energy and kinetic energy convertors. Nevertheless, the Ecopad is one step forward in producing power efficient and innovative smartphones and tablets.