Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Power from micro-windmills

Most of our precious devices depend upon electrical power, and it is a constant challenge - even in the First World - to keep these devices charged all the time. Therefore, the University of Texas has designed a "micro-windmill" soluion.

Now, before Jim Ulvog worries that these micro-windmills will serve as "slice-and-dice" machines for flies and bees, I should emphasize that these micro-windmills are VERY micro.

Smitha Rao and J.-C. Chiao designed and built the device that is about 1.8 mm at its widest point. A single grain of rice could hold about 10 of these tiny windmills.

However, you probably wouldn't want to put these micro-windmills on a grain of rice.

Hundreds of the windmills could be embedded in a sleeve for a cell phone. Wind, created by waving the cell phone in air or holding it up to an open window on a windy day, would generate the electricity that could be collected by the cell phone’s battery.

For more information, see the website for the University of Texas at Arlington's partner, WinMEMS.

While this technology could potentially be commercialized, I suspect that we'll all look pretty silly if we're all waving our cell phones in the air (like we just don't care) just to keep them powered.
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