The vibration harvest

Vibration harvester

All them turbines, drills and shakers in our modern factories make one almighty din.

We’re talking about a substantial amount of a-jumpin and a-jiggling which generally goes to waste. Couldn’t there be a way of harvesting this energy so that it can be re-used?

Turns out Tom Sterken and pals at IMEC, an independent nanostuff research lab in Belgium, have thought of a way to do it and have built a device that can do it.

It’s a MEMs gadget that consists of a tiny mass on a spring connected to a capacitor. As the mass bounces around, it generates a voltage which is stored by the capacitor.

When attached to an (unspecified) piece of industrial equipment, Sterken says his device generates 90 nanowatts of power. That doesn’t seem much: it’s not going to recharge your mobile phone or ipod.

But it might power the sensors needed to monitor this and other devices. And these harvesters can only get better.

Ref: arxiv.org/abs/0802.3060: Characterisation of an Electronic Vibration Harvester

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