Kinetic energy-powered electronics a step closer to reality say researchers

While the idea of powering portable electronics with kinetic energy has been around for a while, a new type of energy harvesting device proposed by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison could bring the idea closer to reality. 

In a paper that appeared August 23 in the journal Nature Communications, engineering researchers Tom Krupenkin and J. Ashley Taylor from the University of Madison-Wisconsin proposed a new type of kinetic energy harvesting technology which, they claim could "dramatically reduce our dependence on batteries."

Krupenkin and Taylor claim that the kinetic energy generated by a person's movements could be transformed into electrical energy using a process known as 'reverse electrowetting,' elaborated by researchers at Wisconsin.

Essentially this process would allow a person with an energy harvesting device embedded in their footwear to generate electrical energy while walking; according to the researchers, enough energy would be generated to power devices ranging from smartphones to night vision goggles.  

The researchers also state that the energy harvesting device could be integrated with a WiFi network and act as a bridge between a mobile device and the network, thereby reducing the amount of battery power needed by a mobile device to browse the internet.

While the researchers admit that the device is unlikely to replace batteries anytime soon, they believe that the technology could play a key role in helping those without easy access to an electric grid and reducing problems, including environmental issues, associated with battery use.

Alternative methods from charging mobile devices are becoming a popular area of research: earlier in 2011 Dr. Sang-Woo Kim from Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea proposed a design for a mobile which drew its power from the sound of the user's voice, and in March researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology designed a MP3 player which could be powered by a human heart beat.

Krupenkin and Taylor's paper "Reverse electrowatting as a new approach to high-power energy harvesting" in the journal Nature Communications: http://www.nature.com/ncomms/journal/v2/n8/full/ncomms1454.html

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Full Stack Software Developer - £80k - Javascript / MEAN

    £45000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Ambitious, entrepreneurial busi...

    Recruitment Genius: Sage 200 Consultant

    £30000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They have a unique reputation f...

    Recruitment Genius: Junior IT Support Technician

    £20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Junior IT Support Technician ...

    Recruitment Genius: Junior / Graduate Front End Developer

    £20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides actionabl...

    Day In a Page

    Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

    Solved after 200 years

    The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

    Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
    Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

    Sunken sub

    Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

    Age of the selfie

    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
    Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

    Not so square

    How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
    Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

    Still carrying the torch

    The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

    ...but history suggests otherwise
    The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

    The bald truth

    How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
    Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

    Tour de France 2015

    Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
    Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

    A new beginning for supersonic flight?

    Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
    I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

    I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

    Latest on the Labour leadership contest
    Froome seals second Tour de France victory

    Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

    Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
    Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

    The uses of sarcasm

    'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
    A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

    No vanity, but lots of flair

    A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
    Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

    In praise of foraging

    How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food