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An electric power plant on the roof of your car?
An electric power plant on the roof of your car?

What if you could power your car by bolting an energy-storing, flapping device to your roof? That’s not likely to happen any time soon. But researchers in South Korea have demonstrated a prototype that might be capable of recharging your smartphone or tablet. They explain how it works in a report published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications. The researchers dubbed their contraption a “flutter-driven triboelectric generator,” or FTEG for short. It consists of a flexible woven “flag” coated in a thin layer of gold and a stiff plate covered with a Teflon-like material. When the flag flutters in the wind and hits the plate, “the two structures...

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