Researchers at universities across the United States are turning the so-called “triboelectric effect” into a new energy harvesting technology with lucrative commercial prospects.

The “triboelectric effect” refers to the electric charge generated by rubbing two different materials together. The electric current that results is like “that tiny spark that jumps from a fingertip to a doorknob when you walk across carpet on a cold, dry day,” as described by the Georgia Institute of Technology.

A press release from Georgia Tech in 2013 explained how triboelectric technology works:

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Category: Science