andre.kesteloot at verizon.net
Thu Feb 10 21:54:14 CST 2005
An interesting approach, IMHO,
Intriguing way to power sensor networks: Environment's vibrational energy
British scientists have developed an intriguing solution to powering
communication devices: scavenging vibrational energy from the environment.
The ideal market for the solution would be ad-hoc sensor networks.
Scientists at the University of Southampton said they could easily get 100
to 200µW of DC power, and that a trial has already been conducted with a
device powering a 802.15.4 transmitter.
The scavenger consists of four magnets vibrating past a static coil, and a
circuit (the details of which have not yet been disclosed) which includes
low-drop diodes, capacitors, and voltage multipliers. It produces at least
100µW from 0.1g [gravity] vibration at between 50 and 200Hz. An adjustment
screw makes it possible to set resonant frequency so that it coincides
with available energy. Output voltage can be between two and three volts.
There is another advantage: The scavenger does not have a problem getting
over the threshold level to start, so there is no need for power to be
The University of Southampton has spun-out a company, called Perpetuum, to
market the solution. Perpetuum represents a breakthrough for the
university's engineering department: researchers there had worked for a
while now on piezoelectric generators but could not get sufficient power
at the frequencies of interest.
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