Hamster Power

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Hamster Power

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Credit: Mylius at wikimedia

The story

Did you know:  The hamster species P.roborovskii have been said to run the equivalent of four human marathons per night?

This interesting but apparently useless fact came to my attention via Guardian blogger Grrl Scientist.  The blog post went on to explain the ways that all this kinetic energy could be harnessed to power electrical devices and I thought that it might be a fun way of teaching about energy transfer.

Teaching ideas and resource

The first way hamster power can be harnessed is shown in this video.

Quite simply you connect a hamster wheel to a generator and you use the electricity produced to charge up small electrical devices. There may be many more efficient, and convenient, ways of charging your mobile phone but I think this invention takes the prize for most imaginative.

As a KS3 or KS4 plenary activity to a lesson on energy transfer you could show the video and then use this resource. Students use the information on the video to fill in the missing forms of energy.

There is another, potentially more useful way, of converting a hamster’s kinetic energy Click Here for More Info on Gambling Books including Blackjack , Poker, Sports Betting, and Craps. into electricity.

Dr Wang and his group at The Georgia Institute of Technology have been working for years on the development of nanowires which use the piezoelectric effect to convert body movements into electricity. This video shows a hamster wearing tiny vests that contain these ‘nanogenerators’.

The technology has the potential to be scaled up to be used in human clothing: imagine a jacket that can be used to charge the tech you carry around with you – just put your phone into your pocket and your motion will keep it fully charged all day.
This amazing research could make a good case study during a lesson on the uses of nanotechnology.


Link to Grrl Scientist’s original post
Video where Dr Wang and his teams talk about their research into nanotechnology