When I think about companies that are on the cutting-edge of touch technology, I immediately think of Disney Research. Their team seems to come up with innovative ideas nonstop, and they often provide the creativity needed for other companies to take their own ideas into completely different directions. Their newest idea is an incredible example of the power of touch as it relates to technology. They’ve discovered how to harvest energy from a touch, rub or slide of the fingers.
When we want to engage with technology, we typically have to plug a power cord into the wall or add batteries, and then it “works.” Imagine what it would be like to provide the electricity for our everyday objects by simply touching, rubbing or sliding our fingers. In the video example below, you can see a child creating energy on the paper pages of a book.
The only things used to make this possible are a piece of paper, a Teflon sheet, a piece of silver-coated polyester, a few wires, some conductive adhesive and tape. We often mention in our articles here on Bit Rebels about how almost everything in our homes in the future will be interactive. According to this example, that even includes what some people would now call ‘old fashioned books’ that are sitting on your bookshelf.
There are many different applications for this energy-harvesting technology. I’m reminded of the Matrix movie, and how they talk about human beings as batteries. Imagine if we could someday harvest enough electricity from our own bodies to power everything in our lives.
Until that day comes, Disney Research is providing this example for how this technology could be used by a child to engage with a book. The electricity generated by the child’s touch can make the pages light up, make a noise, reveal a hidden design, etc. This is one of those awe-inspiring innovations that I’m sure will spawn a whole truckload of new ideas. If you want to read more about this, you can click over to the Disney Research press release which has all the details.