Ever catch flack for your egregiously wasteful over-flushing bathroom habits? Does the combination of the words "yellow" and "mellow" mean absolutely nothing to you?

Thanks to a new development from a team of researchers at Seoul National University and Korea Electronics Technology Institute, you may be able to proclaim "Hey, I'm just trying to keep the lights on in here" if ever scolded for getting a little too trigger happy with the commode handle. While the exact science behind this break-through — explained in full wonky detail in the journal "Energy & Environmental Science" — may cause most folks' eyes to glaze over, it essentially involves the development of a special transducer that turns the natural motion of flowing water into a source of renewable energy (mechanical energy converted into electrical energy). 

As a lab demonstration of the new technology, the research team was able to show that the motion of a tiny falling water droplet resulted in the sporadic flickering of a small green LED. Translate this to a toilet, shower, kitchen sink, rain gutter — or even applications beyond the home including ocean waves, river currents, and on — and you'll start to understand the potential. Of course, suggesting that South Korean homes may actually soon be powered by flushing toilets is a bit absurd. For now, however, the small-scale application of this technology does look promising — I'd be totally down for a toilet-side gadget-charging station.

Via [Chemistry World] via [PSFK

Promo image: Joel Penner/Flickr

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Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.