Power from 'Ambient Vibes'
A generator has been developed that harnesses the power of tiny vibrations. Anything that experiences constant vibration, like a bridge, would be a perfect location. However, only very low power devices can be run from the generator, which converts 30% of kinetic power to electricity.
Steve Beeby from the University of Southampton worked on the device, and sees applications where batteries are inconvenient or impossible, “Vibration energy harvesting is receiving a considerable amount of interest as a means for powering wireless sensor nodes. By removing wires and batteries, there is the potential for embedding sensors in previously inaccessible locations."A tiny cantilever on the device is moved by vibration, which moves magnets in relation to an electric field, generating electricity. It’s not powerful enough to drive consumer gadgets, but one interesting application that Beeby sees is in medical implants, such as pacemakers. It’s quite an elegant idea - the beating of the heart would be regulated by the device, but also power it. Devices like this could reduce the amount of maintenance required, and make low power circuits completely self-sustaining. ::New Scientist