Piezoelectric keyboard could power your computer

Aussie boffins have worked out a way to recharge your computer by using the keystrokes.

Researchers working at the RMIT University in Melbourne have successfully used piezoelectrics, which converts pressure into an electric current.

Mixing this with a thin film technology found in microchips, they think they have come up with a way to make laptops self-powered, says PC Authority.

The idea is still under testing to see if it is practical for low-cost laptop integration, but according to Dr Mandu Bhaskaran, co-author of the research, the development taps all the right keys.

Of course, if you don’t do much typing you could see your laptop run out of power quite quickly. It would encourage companies to buy these keyboards to make sure their users are always typing.

Still, the company will not know if you are using the computer to type emails to your mates, so it might not be such a big work enhancer.

The biggest challenge will be to get the power demands of computer chips down to be able to use the technology.

Despite the best efforts of chipmakers, the power drain for chips is still too high for this sort of technology.

However, the team has come up with other ideas for devices. These include integrating it into running shoes to charge mobiles – or as a power source for pacemakers. Rather like this.