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“Drinking Bird” Science Toy Inspires Electricity Generator.

In Hong Kong, Scientists Use Dippy Bird Toy To Generate Electricity.

The “Drinking Bird,” or Dippy Bird, has been a science toy since 1945. The way this works is that it has two glass bulbs with a tube connecting them, full of methylene chloride. When the water touches the bird’s beak, it begins to evaporate, making a pressure difference that makes the liquid inside rise, and with suddenly more weight on the head, the bird topples forward into the glass again.

“The drinking bird’s triboelectric hydro voltaic generator offers a unique means to power small electronics in ambient conditions, utilizing water as a readily available fuel source,” announced Hao Wu, a teacher at the South China University of Technology who is the author of this study. To make the electric generator, Wu and his colleagues got two mechanical energy collecting modules on each side of the drinking bird, and they then used it to power twenty LCDs and other things such as calculators. Wu said that over coming friction that slowed the generator was a major difficulty. The way they solved this was by replacing the charge transfer materials with patterned fibers.

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