BOB HIRSHON (host):
Charging devices by using them. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.
Imagine re-charging your cell phone by talking into it. Or your iPod by dancing. According to researchers at Texas A&M, these advances are near at hand thanks to piezoelectric materials that generate electricity when they vibrate or bend. They’ve been used for over a century, but now scientists are finding that they get more efficient as they get smaller. A new generation of tiny juice generators could soon help charge a variety of portable devices.
In other tech news. a PhD student at the University of Bath in England has designed a robot that can roll like a ball and then jump like a grasshopper. It’s called the Jollbot and as it rolls it stores energy. When it hits an obstacle, it can squash flat and then spring into the air. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.