New Device Can Be Powered by a Heart Beat

April 8, 2011

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. gadget (n.) [gaj-it]  – a small device that can be operated manually or electronically
Example: The scientist invented a gadget that can produce electricity.

2. stack (v.) [stak]  – to arrange something by putting each piece on top of another
Example: He stacked the plates to put them in order.

3. embed (v.) [em-bed; n. em-bed] – to insert an object into a body or another object.
Example: The doctor embeds an artificial leg in my thigh.

4. a long way to go (idiom.) [uh] [lawng, long] [wey] [too] [goh] – a lot of work to do or improvements to make
Example: We have a long way to go before we can finish our project.

Read the text below.

Scientists have developed the first commercially available device that allows us to operate an electronic gadget with only the beat of our hearts.

The device is called a nanogenerator. It is made of millions of nanowires that can produce electricity when pressed or bent. This technology is based on a phenomenon called piezoelectric effect which is used in many electronic devices today.

Nanogenerators can be as thin as a postage stamp and yet be as powerful as an AA battery. Zhon Lin Wang and his colleagues stacked together nanogenerators to be able to produce at least 1 micro ampere of electricity. This amount is enough to light up the screen of a calculator.

Their goal is to produce a nanogenerator powerful enough to operate bigger electronic gadgets like an iPod. If they are able to achieve this goal, their device can change the future.

The nanogenerator can be embedded in different products in order to give them power with only small movements. For instance, a medical device powered by a patient’s heartbeat can be inserted in his body to monitor his health.  

However, Wang and other scientists at Georgia Tech havea long way to go in order to make this a reality. Presently, they are still working on improving its power output and finding a company that can produce the device commercially.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Would you allow someone to embed a machine in your body to protect your health? Why or why not?
·         What do you think are the risks of embedding a machine inside the body?

Discussion B

·         What do you think are the advantages of using very small and thin devices?
·         What do you think are its disadvantages?

April 8, 2011