Generate electricity from wood

Scientists at ETH Zurich in Switzerland created wood that generates electricity, which could soon power homes and buildings with footsteps. 

The team manipulated a property of wood and some other materials called piezoelectricity, which refers to the tiny amounts of electricity discharged when the materials are compressed.  Using fungus to remove a material called lignin from the cell walls of balsa wood, the scientists made the wood more compressible, with 50 times greater piezoelectric output than regular wood.

While more needs to be done before the technology can be applied commercially, the wood can soon be used to make biomedical or other electrical sensors.  It may also be inserted into floorboards so that walking across them generates energy to be stored in a battery, which could power lights or appliances.

Will electricity-generating floorboards become a trend in the future?  Let us know what you think. 

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