Navigation Links
Portable electricity, life-like prosthetics on the way
Date:11/16/2007

The technology that makes a cell phone vibrate is the same technology that provides more natural movements to prosthetic limbs. A University of Houston research team is working on recreating and enhancing this technological effect, which, if successful, could result in better prosthetic movements and also provide instant electrical power for soldiers and others through the simple act of walking.

Pradeep Sharma, a UH mechanical engineering professor, is leading the team to create a piezoelectric on steroids. Piezoelectricity is the ability of some materials to generate an electric charge when placed under stress. This pioneering technology already is more useful than many people realize. Piezoelectrics are involved in everything from making an airbag deploy to how a lighter produces a flame.

Although piezoelectrics are naturally occurring, they have their limits. If an application requires a level of energy conversion not found in a naturally occurring piezoelectric, a composite consisting of piezoelectrics and non-piezoelectrics must be made. Sharma and his team are creating piezoelectrics from man-made materials that have no piezoelectric property.

If you press on a piezoelectric, or apply mechanical force, it will produce a voltage, Sharma said. Or, if you apply a voltage or electrical force to it, the object will bend or change its shape.

An engineered piezoelectric strip placed in the boot of a soldier would generate electricity and power the increasing number of devices that soldiers carry. The walking motion produces force or deformation of the strip, which generates electricity with every step. The highly customizable piezoelectrics also could enable the creation of prosthetics that come closer to offering both the flexibility and the strength of real limbs. Current prosthetic limbs face challenges in range and movement by the two types of naturally occurring piezoelectrics, ceramic and polymer.

Ceramic piezoelectrics are very hard and brittle, and dont allow for a lot of movement, Sharma said. They take a lot of electrical energy for a lot of motion. Polymers are better for large forces of motion, but dont have a lot of strength. So, you can stretch adequately, but may not even be able to pick up an egg. Nature has given us some elements, and now were going beyond and designing materials from the ground up. We wanted to combine the best qualities of the two types of piezoelectrics, among other things.

Sharma has been working to refine his theoretical ideas for two years. His research team includes Ramanan Krishnamoorti of the UH Cullen College of Engineering, Boris Yakobson of Rice University and Zoubeida Ounaies of Texas A&M University. Krishanmoorit and Ounaies will begin putting the research to the test with the help of a $1.22 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

The real applications of this technology are going to come from the fact that you dont have to depend on existing piezoelectrics, Sharma said. You can create materials, using certain nanoscale effects, that give higher energy conversion. These are basically piezoelectrics on steroids.


'/>"/>

Contact: Ann Holdsworth
aholdsworth@uh.edu
713-743-8153
University of Houston
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Smiths Detection to launch a portable diagnostic system for foot-and-mouth disease and avian flu
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/28/2017)... , March 28, 2017 The ... Hardware (Camera, Monitors, Servers, Storage Devices), Software (Video Analytics, ... Region - Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, ... 2016 and is projected to reach USD 75.64 Billion ... and 2022. The base year considered for the study ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... 24, 2017 The Controller General of Immigration from ... Abdulla Algeen have received the prestigious international IAIR Award for the ... Continue Reading ... ... Controller Abdulla Algeen (small picture on the right) have received the IAIR ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... The report "Gesture Recognition and Touchless Sensing Market by Technology (Touch-based ... to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to be worth USD ... 2022. Continue Reading ... ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... and LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. , Oct. ... Cancer Research, London (ICR) and University ... SKY92, SkylineDx,s prognostic tool to risk-stratify patients with multiple myeloma ... MUK nine . The University of Leeds ... partly funded by Myeloma UK, and ICR will perform the ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... 2017 , ... San Diego-based team building and cooking events company, Lajollacooks4u, has ... The bold new look is part of a transformation to increase awareness, appeal to ... period. , It will also expand its service offering from its signature gourmet cooking ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... 10, 2017 International research firm Parks Associates announced ... at the TMA 2017 Annual Meeting , October 11 in ... residential home security market and how smart safety and security products impact ... Parks Associates: Smart Home ... "The residential security market has ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... DIEGO , Oct. 9, 2017  BioTech ... biological mechanism by which its ProCell stem cell ... critical limb ischemia.  The Company, demonstrated that treatment ... amount of limbs saved as compared to standard ... the molecule HGF resulted in reduction of therapeutic ...
Breaking Biology Technology: