Find the latest episode of "The Uncertain Hour" here. Listen

Mobile phones charged by talking into mobile phones?

John Moe May 9, 2011

Here’s a brain bender: Korean scientists have developed a way to turn sound into energy. The idea is that such a system could be installed in a mobile phone and the phone could charge itself based on you talking into it, holding it up to traffic, or even playing music. I guess if your battery is really low, you could just sit there and scream your lungs out, which would be bad for society but potentially hilarious. Cuts both ways. From the Telegraph: The technology uses tiny strands of zinc oxide sandwiched between two electrodes. A sound absorbing pad on top vibrates when sound waves hit it, causing the tiny zinc oxide wires to compress and release. This movement generates an electrical current that can then be used to charge a battery.

Early tests have shown that it works but still doesn’t produce much power. Scientists are working on modifying it and making improvements.

News and information you need, from a source you trust.

In a world where it’s easier to find disinformation than real information, trustworthy journalism is critical to our democracy and our everyday lives. And you rely on Marketplace to be that objective, credible source, each and every day.

This vital work isn’t possible without you. Marketplace is sustained by our community of Investors—listeners, readers, and donors like you who believe that a free press is essential – and worth supporting.

Stand up for independent news—become a Marketplace Investor today with a donation in any amount.