New sensor tech uses vibrations to charge its battery

Aug 26, 2011
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New sensor tech uses vibrations to charge its battery

I have long said that one of the technologies with the most promise to change our world is battery tech. The batteries that last longer and charge faster are key elements to improve everything from smartphones to cars. A company called MicroGen Systems has been developing cool battery tech for small, low power sensors that generates power for its on-board battery by harnessing vibrations. These batteries are ideal for low power sensors like the ones in late model cars that power the TMPS system that monitors tire pressures.

The little battery generator has a cantilever that vibrates back and forth when the motion of a car on the road shakes things around. That cantilever motion is turned into electrical energy to power the sensor. Granted the current batteries in those sensors are good for roughly the usable life of the vehicle as it is. However, this is a nice stepping store to possible future uses of similar tech.

The cantilever array is made from a piezoelectric material that produces electrical potential that can be turned into electrical current. The cantilever array is then mounted to a postage stamp size thin-film battery. The designers say that the system can produce about 200 microwatts of power making it quite useful in low power applications.

[via Technology Review]


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