Portable Piezo Power

Rechargeable batteries have changed our lives. Batteries that constantly recharge themselves will change things more. It is the ability to collect ambient vibrations and convert the energy into electricity that makes this possible. Piezo-electric materials produce electricity from pressure or stress. Micropower generators are small devices that use piezo-electric materials to collect current produced by movement and vibration. Wearable flexible electronics would seem to be a natural combination with piezo power.

Smarty pants: wearable electronics will recharge your life – [theconversation.com]

The body electric

Piezo is a term derived from a Greek word meaning to squeeze or press, and piezoelectric materials generate electricity when they are pressured or twisted – enabling development of shoes, clothing or recreational gear that generate electricity from movement.

Flexible batteries can be used to store the captured energy from human movement via piezoelectric materials woven into fabrics or inserted into silicone rubber.

You could have a jacket that’s a wearable mobile phone, with a flexible electronic screen printed on the cuffs, flexible phone circuit boards woven into the fabric, and a microphone in the collar. Just input the number on your cuff, and start talking.

Energy harvester rolls to market production – [cornell.edu]

The micropower generator is a low-cost, long-lifetime device that scavenges otherwise wasted vibrational energy. Vibration causes the tiny micro flap in the device to swing back and forth, which generates electrical current that charges an adjacent ultra-capacitor or rechargeable thin-film battery. In an automobile’s tire pressure sensor, for example, this device collects the vibrations from the tires meeting the road and offers unending power for the sensor.

The convenience: a car’s owner never has to worry about replacing sensor batteries in awkward places. The environmental impact: eliminating 164 million depleted coin-cell batteries each year that would otherwise need to be recycled.

Uses for these energy devices could include industrial, building and commercial wireless sensor markets, machinery monitoring, lighting control and smart utility metering. They could also be used in transportation systems, civil infrastructure monitoring and asset tracking. They could help report outside temperatures at vineyards and help power wireless price tags at stores.

MicroGen “Batteries NOT included” Energy Harvesting – [youtube.com]

Harvesting energy from industrial, building and commercial equipment’s low level vibration.

MicroGen’s BOLT-M0120B energy harvester (white unit) powering a flashing LED (with the red colored TI eZ430 wireless temperature sensor shown) from ONLY the vibration of an (1) industrial pump, (2) microwave oven and (3) building fan – all at 120 Hz at 0.3g. The BOLT-R0120B produces up to 70 microWatts from as little as 0.1g at 120 Hz. Initially the BOLT unit is uncharged, then the vibration starts and begins to charge internal capacitors (300 microFarads). After 10-15 secs the LED begins to flash, where each flash represents represents a radio transmission from the wireless sensor. Provided there is vibration there is energy to harvest, and the capacitors remain fully charged. When the vibration stops the LED does not stop flashing until the capacitors fully discharge.

“Batteries NOT included!”

SEE ALSO:
Thin, Flexible, Wearable Electronics
Wearing Our Electronics
Electronic Textiles

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