SATURN: A Thin and Flexible Self-powered Microphone Leveraging Triboelectric Nanogenerator

Nivedita Arora, Gregory D. Abowd, Steven L. Zhang, Fereshteh Shahmiri, Diego Osorio, Yi-cheng Wang, Mohit Gupta, Zhengjun Wang, Thad Starner, Zhong Lin Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We demonstrate the design, fabrication, evaluation, and use of a self-powered microphone that is thin, flexible, and easily manufactured. Our technology is referred to as a Self-powered Audio Triboelectric Ultra-thin Rollable Nanogenerator (SATURN) microphone. This acoustic sensor takes advantage of the triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG) to transform vibrations into an electric signal without applying an external power source. The sound quality of the SATURN mic, in terms of acoustic sensitivity, frequency response, and directivity, is affected by a set of design parameters that we explore based on both theoretical simulation and empirical evaluation. The major advantage of this audio material sensor is that it can be manufactured simply and deployed easily to convert every-day objects and physical surfaces into microphones which can sense audio. We explore the space of potential applications for such a material as part of a self-sustainable interactive system.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-28
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 5 2018

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