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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hamsters in jackets harnessed for energy

By Matthew Moore

BBC reports theft of hamster five days earlier as breaking news
It would take 1,000 hamsters to generate enough energy to power a mobile phone Photo: GETTY

The devices are strapped to the animals as they run on their cage wheels, capturing the biomechanical energy they release as they exercise.

Experts believe the technique could one day be used to capture power produced by humans.

Dr Zhong Lin Wang of Georgia University's Nano Research Group developed the flexible jackets, which are fitted with wires plugged into a nanogenerator that produces energy when they are bent and stretched.

In tests one hamster named Campbell's Dwarf produced small amounts of AC power – around one twentieth of the output of an AA battery.

Although it would take 1,000 hamsters to generate enough energy to power a mobile phone, Dr Wang said the technology could have practical applications when applied to larger animals and humans.

"We believe that this is the first demonstration of a live animal producing current with nano-generators," she told The Sun.

Dr Wang added that the technology could be ready to be fitted into clothes within five years. It would capture energy produced not only when humans are active, but also from smaller movements such as when people are sat at computers.

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