Penn State engineers have optimized an energy harvesting circuit so that it transfers four times more electrical power out of vibration – the ordinary shakes and rattles generated by human motion or machine operation.
Using their laboratory prototype, which was developed from off-the-shelf parts, the Penn State researchers can generate 50 milliwatts. Although they havent tried it, they believe the motion of a runner could be harnessed to generate enough power to run a portable electronic music device. By comparison, simple, un-optimized energy harvesting circuits, for example the type used to power LEDs on "smart" skis, can only generate a few milliwatts.
The researchers say the new circuit offers an environmentally friendly alternative to disposable batteries for wearable electronic devices or for wireless communication systems. In addition, the circuit could be used in sensor and monitoring networks that manage environmental control in office buildings, robot control and guidance systems for automatic manufacturing, warehouse inventory; integrated patient monitoring, diagnostics, drug administration in hospitals, interactive toys, smart home security systems, and interactive museums.
Andrea Elyse Messer | EurekAlert!
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