What if it was possible to charge your phone, tablet or notebook by just tapping on the top of the device? Or if your iPod could take its charge from the impact of your shoes on the floor? That’s the potential ramifications of the work being done by researchers at the RMIT University in Melbourne who have, for the first time characterized the ability of piezoelectric thin films to turn mechanical pressure into electricity. The work combines two technologies – piezoelectrics and thin film technology to fuel devices of the future. Lead co-author Dr Madhu Bhaskaran paints a pretty awesome picture of the future of the technology. “The power of piezoelectrics could be integrated into running shoes to charge mobile phones, enable laptops to be powered through typing or even used to convert blood pressure into a power source for pacemakers – essentially creating an everlasting battery. The concept of energy harvesting using piezoelectric nanomaterials has been demonstrated but the realisation of these structures can be complex and they are poorly suited to mass fabrication. Our study focused on thin film coatings because we believe they hold the only practical possibility of integrating piezoelectrics into existing electronic technology.” You better start collecting chargers for your devices folks, because if this tech manages to pan out, those things will become relics in no time flat.