Disney just generated electricity by rubbing paper

The company's research arm says the simplicity of the design could lead to countless applications.

By Benzinga Oct 8, 2013 2:03PM

It’s a concept so simple it seems like child's play.


Using materials called 'electrets,' Disney (DIS) Research has created a new technology that lets you generate electricity (energy) by tapping or rubbing paper.


The initial beneficiaries of Disney’s paper generators will probably be children interacting with books that, according to Co.Design, light up, play sounds and otherwise entertain and engage them in ways traditional books never could.


The electrets hold a semi-permanent electrical charge. In the Disney demonstration, the electret is a sheet of Teflon which, when rubbed against a regular sheet of paper with conductive ink on it, generates electricity.


In a Disney research paper that describes the project, Mustafa Emre Karagozler, Ivan Poupyrev, Gary K. Fedder and Yuri Suzuki pointed out that the electrical charge can be generated by rubbing, tapping, even touching. Once you have electricity, of course, the possibilities are endless.


So, what’s the big deal? Interactive books and greeting cards, including cards that play music already exist. The difference: Existing interactive paper technology relies on batteries. And, according to Co.Design, battery technology is stagnant. Not to mention, costly.


Disney’s new development, said researcher Ivan Poupyrev, is made even more incredible by its simplicity. He added: “This simplicity leads to countless applications enabling interactivity everywhere and anytime. My overall goal is to make the whole world interactive, and creating ubiquitous power supplies is a key step in that direction.”


Although the energy created is low in amperage, it’s high in voltage (up to 1000 volts), allowing for such actions as mechanical movement, lighting several LEDs at the same time, and producing sound.


Poupyrev said, “A small battery source would be depleted almost immediately in most of the applications that we designed for our power generators, and that would make them unfeasible from the product point of view.”


Perhaps most importantly, from a production point of view, the cost of creating paper generators is almost nothing. They can be printed with traditional printers using conductive ink, thereby adding interactivity to an almost endless array of products.


It’s even possible to store the energy created until there is enough to send an infrared 

signal to, for example, a computer.


Disney’s Karagozler summed it up. "It's very simple, it's flexible and it's printable using conventional printers. It's a technology with potential applications we've only begun to explore."


Where could it all lead? Disney only talked about interactive paper books. Gigaom, however, hinted at much more, pointing out, for example that the e-paper display on Amazon's (AMZN) Kindle uses such a small amount of power that in the future it might be possible to power such a device by simply brushing your hand across the surface.


At the time of this writing, Jim Probasco had no position in any mentioned securities.


Read more from Benzinga

2Comments
Oct 10, 2013 12:13PM
avatar
I am just as surprised that Disney has a research arm, as I am with the results of their research.    Who would have thought?
Oct 8, 2013 8:06PM
avatar

F DISNEY! ANOTHER LEFT WING PROGRESSIVE DEMONCRAT LOVING COMPANY!

DISNEY IS NOTHING BUT BRAINWASHING TRASH FOR KIDS LIKE PSB AND NPR!

PEOPLE SHOULDN'T HAVE THEIR TAX PAYER MONEY USED TO SPREAD THIS CRAP!

I BOYCOTT DISNEY, GE, GMC AND NBC AND ANY OTHER LEFT WING SUPPORT COMPANY!

WHAT THEY GOT GREEN MONEY LIKE GE WHO PAYS NO TAXES???? WHAT A SCAM!

Report
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
Categories
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?

DATA PROVIDERS

Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.

ABOUT TECHBIZ

Start investing in technology companies with help from financial writers and experts who know the industry best. Learn what to look for in a technology company to make the right investment decisions.

RECENT POSTS

Harvard scientists develop swarm of robots

Like a mechanical flash mob, the group of about a thousand tiny robots can work together -- like bees or army ants -- in vast numbers without guidance.

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

RECENT QUOTES

WATCHLIST

Symbol
Last
Change
Shares
Quotes delayed at least 15 min

MSN MONEY'S