Disney Research makes paper cool again by turning it into a generator (video)

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Melissa Grey
October 9th, 2013
Disney Research makes paper cool again by turning it into a generator (video)

Disney has a knack for making the mundane magical, whether it's transforming a pumpkin into a carriage or a few sheets of paper into a generator. The team from Disney Research accomplished the latter by constructing a simple mechanism with a few low-cost items, like Teflon, conductive adhesives, wires and silver-coated polyester (though paper printed with conductive ink will also work). The negatively charged Teflon sheet functions as an electret, a material capable of holding a quasi-permanent electrical charge; by sandwiching it between either the polyester or conductive paper, you can produce enough voltage to light up a small LED array, create animations on e-paper displays, or trigger animations on connected computers. Using the generator is simple: all you have to do is rub or tap the paper, say, "Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo," and you're all set (the magic word is optional). To see it with your own two eyes, check out the video after the break.

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