Technology

How the Japanese Art Of Paper Cutting Could Change The Future Of Electronics

Excited for the August 21 eclipse? Visit our Eclipse 2017 page to explore the science, history, and myths of the event. The Curiosity team will be viewing the eclipse alongside NASA in Carbondale, Illinois. Follow us on Facebook for live videos, trivia, and interviews on the big day.

The ancient art of paper cutting doesn't exactly sound like the futuristic technology that will revolutionize powering your portable electronics. Surprise: it just may be. Meet the self-charging paper device.

Related: Thinly Shaved Wood Makes Up Yosegi Wood Designs

Researchers have developed a paper-based device inspired by the Chinese and Japanese arts of paper-cutting that can harvest and store energy from body movements.

Say "Triboelectric Nanogenerator" Five Times Fast

For a few years, researchers have been working on a way to use the energy produced by your body's movements to power devices like heart monitors and hearing aids. The most promising candidates? Devices called triboelectric nanogenerators (TENGs), which can use mechanical energy—like the kind generated when you take a few steps—to power these little devices.

Related: The Forbes Pigment Collection Keeps Art Authentic

Unfortunately, says the researchers' press release, TENG devices up until this point aren't that efficient—they take a few hours to charge something as small as a sensor—and have been made of acrylic, which is heavy. So the researchers turned to history to help create a cutting-edge future.

The Major Breakthrough

In a paper published in April 2017 in the journal ACS Nano, researchers detailed how the traditional Chinese and Japanese technique of paper-cutting—basically, the art of slicing unique designs in paper—may be the key to the development of "lightweight, superportable, and sustainable power sources" for devices including remote controls, watches, and temperature sensors.

Related: The Hong Kong Architecture Built For Dragons And Positive Feng Shui

The key is a rhombic paper-cut design just a few inches long. The inside edges are simple paper covered in gold and a fluorinated ethylene propylene film, which helps the design function as a TENG energy harvester. The outside edges are sandpaper coated with material like gold and graphite, which helps it store that energy. With enough movement, the new devices could charge in a matter of minutes. Who knew the future of power could be so artistic?

Is there something you're curious about? Send us a note or email us at editors (at) curiosity.com. And follow Curiosity on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Watch And Learn: Our Favorite Content About When Art Meets Science

Science Vs. Art

Share the knowledge!

If you liked this you'll love our podcast! Check it out on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, search 'curiosity' on your favorite podcast app or add the RSS Feed URL.

Advertisement