Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Energy From Vibrations

Hemos posted more than 11 years ago | from the making-better-use-of-energy dept.

Handhelds 529

JN writes "Now here's a nifty invention. What started off as a Small Business Innovation Research grant from the Navy to a MIT professor has turned out to become a great mechanism that harnesses running machines' minute vibrations into energy. The possibilities are limitless. Aside from the obvious, imagine the ultimate cellphone - one that charges the battery every time it rings/vibrates, hence promising extended talktimes, and giving operators all the more reasons to get their customers to use their devices. How cool is that? Do I see 3G applications with a vibrate() call mandatory every couple minutes? "

cancel ×

529 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

This could be sweet. (5, Funny)

OwnerOfWhinyCat (654476) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774027)

On a Harley block these could power my Microwave!

Imagine... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5774082)

...a Beowulf cluster of one of these babies!

HOT GRITS

Re:This could be sweet. (2, Funny)

DoctorPepper (92269) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774145)

Shit, on a Harley block it could power ALL of our microwaves!

Re:This could be sweet. (4, Insightful)

robslimo (587196) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774172)

I know you're joking, but mechanical vibrations that you can't do anything to prevent are probably the best application of this technology.

Remember conservation of energy and thermodynamics... you're not going to get 'free' energy by strapping this to a buzzing, vibrating machine. You might regain a tiny fraction of the energy which the machine is losing (wasting) through its inefficiency, but in that case, you'd probably be better off replacing or repairing the machine to be more efficient.

The applications for this technology are narrow, like powering (small) things in inaccessible areas, like ventilation systems. You're not going to power your factory lights from the vibrations from your machining centers, but you could probably pay your light bill (in the long term) from the savings from replacing or upgrading old, worn out, inefficient machines.

Indeed (5, Interesting)

inertia@yahoo.com (156602) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774029)

Reminds me of this [slashdot.org] article. But seriously, wouldn't the daily movement of the cell phone user also be useful? Granted, it's not as vigorous as the vibrate feature, but it has to account for something.

"Crud, I dropped my cell phone. But now I have ten more minutes of talk time! Gotta love solid state!"

Re:Indeed (2, Informative)

ghoting (542145) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774054)

But seriously, wouldn't the daily movement of the cell phone user also be useful?

That was my thinking, too. That sort of "recharge" has been available in wrist watches for some time (no winding necessary, your wrist movements do it). For a cell phone with small power needs, it would seem a simple thing to accomplish.

Re:Indeed (5, Informative)

agentkhaki (92172) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774151)

Unless the phone happens to be one of those nifty wrist-based one, the answer is no, this won't work. The kinetic watches work on the theory that you a) swing your arms, however so slightly or greatly, when you walk b) you tend to walk around quite a bit (even if it's just going to the fridge to grab another barrel of soda) and c) even when you're not walking around, your arms are moving.

Contrast that with a cell phone, which is either a) attached to your hip or b) sitting on your desk. When you're walking around, you might be able to harness some energy, the amount of which would increase the farther down your leg you carried it, but when you're just sitting around, or when you're doing your filing, or whatever, you wouldn't be doing anything for the phone.

Furthermore, any gain would quickly be balanced out by the fact that, just like the watches, you would need an electric device that constantly moves the phone around when you're not going to be using it for a certain period of time (longer than overnight, I believe).

I feel vibrations (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5774031)

in my pants

nothing new here (5, Funny)

kin_korn_karn (466864) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774032)

I know plenty of women that get energy from vibrating objects.

Re:nothing new here (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5774047)

Woah.... You know women??!!?

Re:nothing new here (4, Funny)

Xzisted (559004) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774060)

If us men scientists aren't careful...they wont have much of a use for us anymore. Imagine the self-recharging vibrator that never dies.

ok but... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5774034)

does it run Hurd?

Perpetual Motion? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5774037)

So now calling your phone charges it, huh?

ought to patent that.

Dildos (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5774038)

Insert tasteless joke about Dildos here.

Re:Dildos (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5774084)

insert dildo into asshole's asshole.

Someone's got to say it... (1)

Rorschach1 (174480) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774039)

Perpetual motion vibrators!

Re:Someone's got to say it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5774085)

While scavenging a little lost vibration could be cool - you're headed way down the path of perpetual motion here.

How about a really cool idea. Let's attach big windmills to the roofs of our cars, then when we drive we can charge up the ....

Re:Someone's got to say it... (2, Insightful)

Rorschach1 (174480) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774139)

I'm just trying to point out that the statement in the original post about a cell phone charging itself through the ringer/vibrator is absurd. Any such device would have to effectively dampen vibrations, so you'd just be reducing the output of the vibrator and wasting energy in conversion.

idiot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5774040)

ever hear of conservation of energy? WTF do you thing makes the cell phone ring? THE BATTERY. Dumbass.

Well, 'vibrate'.. (1)

E_elven (600520) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774041)

I've had more experiences physically relocating the phones than them vibrating..(usually by hand and as far as my muscles carried it.)

Re:Well, 'vibrate'.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5774109)

maybe you should stop shoving the phone up your ass then?

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws... (2, Insightful)

nweaver (113078) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774042)

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics"

The article is (I assume) about energy recovery/scavenging, but the article poster just invented perpetual motion, arguing that the vibrator from the ringer could power the cellphone.

HA.

Re:"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws... (1, Insightful)

A Bugg (115871) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774074)

no he didn't he just said it would give EXTENDED talk time which would be true. he said nothing of limitless energy from it.
a bugg

Re:"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws... (2, Insightful)

M-G (44998) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774113)

no he didn't he just said it would give EXTENDED talk time which would be true

Yes, the submitter did say that, but went on to speculate that you'd be wanting to get more calls in order to keep your battery charged, so the overall tone was that as long as you kept getting calls, you'd keep your battery charged.

Re:"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws... (2, Insightful)

ADRA (37398) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774132)

"Do I see 3G applications with a vibrate() call mandatory every couple minutes?"

Nah, they were clearly delusional.

Re:"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws... (0, Funny)

agentkhaki (92172) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774095)

I suppose it's all in how you read it... Note the word 'extended' though. In my dictionary, 'extended' does not equate to 'infinite.'

Slashdot laziness takes an all time low - now people aren't even bothering to read the post itself. What next, just read the headline? The first word of the headline? The first letter?

Re:"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws... (2, Funny)

nweaver (113078) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774116)

Yeup. " Do I see 3G applications with a vibrate() call mandatory every couple minutes? "

You're lazy, all right.

Re:"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws... (1)

kisrael (134664) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774123)

Slashdot laziness takes an all time low - now people aren't even bothering to read the post itself. What next, just read the headline? The first word of the headline? The first letter?

E! I know some folks who took that stuff. They were really into textures, and kissing.

Re:"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5774135)

Cool your jets. He did say "extended" but then he suggested additional calls to charge it up. If he believes an additional call would create a net positive energy balance within the phone then he believes in perpetual motion. Think harder, criticize less.

Re:"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws... (4, Insightful)

StevenMaurer (115071) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774146)

The patent is certainly intended to cover large scale industrial equipment, not mobile phones. In that case, not only would you get excess electricity, but the very act of harnessing that power would also serve to quiet them -- a double bonus.

Hemos is like a lot of sci-fi fans: he thinks technology is cool, but he hasn't bothered to understand the science it's based on.

To all naysayers (4, Insightful)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774157)

The vibration of a cell phone is not wasted. It is intentional. To pick up energy from the vibration would be to damp it, then you'd have to vibrate more to get the same alerting effect.

Even if you could get power from the vibration, it would mean that the vibration (which is intentionally selected) is unwanted, or that you would have to crank up the power going into the vibration to compensate.

This supposed energy collector is meant to pick up wasted, unwanted vibrations from engines, ventilation ducts, etc. Not from intentional vibrations.

It seems... (1)

TheZapman (627044) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774044)

...that the conservation of energy isn't a popular concept anymore... (Hmmm, I'll convert my battery power into vibrations, have a little converted back, waste the rest as entropy, and have more talk time... ;-)

Re:It seems... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5774147)

The new ecomony has already embraced your book-keeping ideology. Hey, it worked for Enron!

Laws of thermodynamics (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774045)

Didn't anyone ever tell you, you can't get more energy out than you put in. Thus you may exstend battery life but vibrations won't charge the phone. So how would a mandatory vibrate ring every few minutes help?

Just riding around to charge. (1)

immortal (145467) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774046)

If ringing vibration will recharge, what about just driving around in the car, or walking. Hmmm, I wonder what an earthquake would do that recharger?

Re:Just riding around to charge. (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774117)

Hmmm, I wonder what an earthquake would do that recharger?

Interesting idea. What if you covered a large field with tall towers, with ten-ton steel weights hanging from large springs from the tops of the towers. When an earthquake strikes, a huge amount of energy will be transferred into the spring/weight systems. Then you use some kind of linear generator to extract this energy from the vibrating weights.

Efficency (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5774049)

It would never generate more power than it dispenses.
thus, making a call to "vibrate" wouldn't actually charge the device....

2nd Law of Thermodynamics (1)

Anonymous Coed (8203) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774051)

imagine the ultimate cellphone - one that charges the battery every time it rings/vibrates


Have you ever heard of the Second Law? How do you think you would get the energy to vibrate the phone in the first place? Do you think you could possibly recover MORE energy from this than you put in in the first place?

In other news .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5774179)

ppl are now buying 2 cellphones ... cell A rings up cell B, whose vibration causes energy which is again used by cell B to ring up cell A .. :P

Remember Friction? (2, Informative)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774053)

imagine the ultimate cellphone - one that charges the battery every time it rings/vibrates

You'll still need to recharge the phone (maybe not as much, but I'm pretty sure that you won't find that significant of a different from regular phone), otherwise you are talking perpetual motion machines.

Re:Remember Friction? (2, Insightful)

jeffy124 (453342) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774133)

what about the simple vibrations a phone endures just sitting on someone's belt? would simply walking around create enough vibration on the phone?

Re:Remember Friction? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5774161)

Well that depends. If the scavenging device is 100% effective it will absorb 100% of the vibration. Then you won't even know you got the call!

The following equation lists my thoughts. (2, Funny)

Renraku (518261) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774056)

Since the posts thus far are mostly about cell phones regaining power by ringing.. Step 1: Vibrate. Step 2: Violate laws of thermodynamics. Step 3: ? Step 4: Profit!

Re:The following equation lists my thoughts. (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774183)

If you show me how to implement your step 2, I'll tell you what your step 3 is.

Obvious Application (1, Funny)

The_Rippa (181699) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774062)

Perpetual Dildo

in related news (0, Troll)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774063)

I hear Kathleen Fent-Malda gets energy from vibrators. I guess CmdrTaco can't satisfy her.

Wow! (4, Funny)

philovivero (321158) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774064)

Yes! A phone that charges itself when it rings or vibrates.

And next, we can build a machine that, when slowing down from drag, uses that potential energy to cause another part of itself to move faster. Then, it would never stop. We could task it to make electricity to power... everything!

From cars that have more electricity at the end of the trip than when they started, to bicycles that coast faster when going uphill, the possibilities are... perpetual!

There are a lot of *unsatisfied* women out there.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5774066)

... looks like we now have the techonology to build the 'perpetual motion vibrator' for them :)

woo hoo!

This has been around (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5774067)

Everyone know vibrations create orgasmic energy

Thermodynamics... (1)

CommieLib (468883) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774069)

Good catch with "extended lifetimes". But consider that the only energy that can be recaptured is the energy expended ringing the phone, and only that portion that doesn't need to connect with the user's ear. Probably not significant, unfortunately.

Car engines. Enough said.

you wont get out (0)

m1chael (636773) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774070)

what you put in so you still need to feed it extra power. i wonder the details as i havent bothered to read the article.

Thermodynamics (3, Interesting)

Psion (2244) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774071)

Any energy captured from a vibration recovery system will unavoidably be less than the energy required to make the mechanism vibrate. Now capture of energy from externally generated vibrations would be useful...recharge your phone by placing it on top of a tower with a noisy fan.

Perpetual motion machine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5774075)


If you recover energy from a vibrating cellphone, it will damp the vibration. Assuming that the vibration recovery method is not 100% efficent, you would have been better off just vibrating the phone that much less ans saving the battery for other things.

Unless of course it has MORE than 100% efficiency, in which case our energy problems as a nation are solved!

Not perpetual motion (5, Interesting)

Plastik (7128) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774076)

This is a way to power small, low-power devices parasitically from the vibrations of a much larger engine. Actually very interesting.

vibration energy... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5774077)

i would say that there is quite an energy charge given off from by vibration every time i watch my girlfriend with her vibrating dildo...

We obey the laws of thermodynamics in this house!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5774078)

The battery is expending the energy to make the phone vibrate/ring. It may be possible to harness SOME of the energy from the vibrate/ring but enough to keep the battery fully charged.

Thermodynamics not withstanding ... (1)

joab_son_of_zeruiah (580903) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774080)

imagine the ultimate cellphone - one that charges the battery every time it rings/vibrates

I love perpetual motion machines.

No energy gain (1)

bballad (663078) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774086)

I have a feeling that more energy is used in makeing the phone viberate, and turneing that vibration into electricity then would be generated. By doing this you would lose battery life.

Damping, and Entropy (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774089)

This should be an excellent way to damp noise from vibrating machinery, but you need somewhere to dump the electricity, e.g. a light bulb. So "loud" would become "bright".

P.S. You can't recharge the battery fully from a vibrating phone, because some of the vibration has to exit the phone to tell you it's ringing, and because of the 2d law of Thermodynamics and the fact that it's your battery that's causing the vibration in the first place.

TANSTAAFL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5774090)

You can't get something for nothing. You might be able to recover some of the energy spent vibrating something like a pager or cell phone, but the battery's draining either way. You're not going to get back as much as you put in.
Now, if you can get your phone to generate power when you shiver, now you're talking! You, the biological engine, supply the input!

I am no scientist... (2, Interesting)

DrWhizBang (5333) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774092)

but even I can figure out that cell phones are _not_ an application for this technology. This is talking about machines that vibrate anyways, and using the vibration as a means of reclaiming some of the energy expended throught the vibration. Cell/pager vibration will always require more energy to vibrate than they can reclaim unless the efficiency of this mechanism is greater than 100% (and unless my understanding of high school physics is wrong that is not possible.)

Can people read and understand articles before posting once in a while? Pretty please?

very funny (4, Funny)

joss (1346) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774093)

> one that charges the battery every time it rings/vibrates

I sure hope you are just making a joke. If you're not being deliberately stupid, I impressed by your natural talent.

Anything that obtains energy from vibrations or sound is going to dampen those vibrations or muffle the sound [same thing really]. If phones can save energy like this, maybe you can levitate by pulling your own hair up. In fact, I recommend you try this.

Pamela! (0)

biz0r (656300) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774094)

The solution to the world energy crisis! Just slap one of these babies on Pamela Anderson, it would work, really.

Conservation of energy (3, Informative)

Da Fokka (94074) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774096)

If vibration is used to gain energy from it, the vibration will be damped accordingly following the law of conservation of energy.
A phone charging when it vibrates is therefore pointless.
Nevertheless this invention could have a host of useful appliances.

Re:Conservation of energy (0)

biz0r (656300) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774131)

It could be used to help keep a charge on a device, thus causing the device to last longer. No one said it would keep your phone charged indefinitely. I personally, am all for it. My cell phone gets the crappiest standby time with its color screen.

Re:Conservation of energy (2, Insightful)

Jace of Fuse! (72042) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774187)

You are missing the point. If you are going to vibrate the phone, you use stored energy. If you want to "Capture" some of that vibration and turn it back into energy, then you DAPEND that energy, thus meaning that 1> Some of the Energy you used to vibrate the phone is lost and 2> some of the vibration is lost, and 3> some of the energy is lost again trying to store the vibration.

So, if you want to make you vibrating phone last longer, spend less energy making vibrations. The gains from this are far greater than any attempt (no matter how you do it) to recapture the energy.

As another poster said, one useful application would be making the phone capable of charging itself if placed on an external source of energy (such as some loud or vibrating surface).

Ever heard of conversation of energy? (3, Informative)

Jack Porter (310054) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774097)

Where do you think the energy to make the phone vibrate comes from?

Getting energy from the vibrations from the environment around a device is a great idea, but the submitter is on crack about getting more cell phone battery life.

Any extra juice you got would reduce the amount of virbation aparent to the user, so you'd have to spend at least that amount of energy extra to still have a working virate feature. You could have even longer talk time by not vibrating at all.

Perpetual Motion (1)

RockyMountain (12635) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774099)

I'm sure (well, I hope anyway) JN had his tongue in his cheek when he proposed a perpetual motion application for this technology.

Remember, they're not just the "good ideas" of thermodynamics, they're the law.

2+2 = 3 (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5774100)

imagine the ultimate cellphone - one that charges the battery every time it rings/vibrates, hence promising extended talktimes, and giving operators all the more reasons to get their customers to use their devices

Uhh... just reduce the strength of the vibration by an amount equivalant to the damping effect this generation system will have.. this is guaranteed to beat turning power into vibrations and then back into battery charge.

The vibration in a cellphone is desired. I think this system (ITSFIHARTA*) is for unwanted and unavoidable vibrations like the vibration of a motor.

Perpetual motion machines, anyone?

* In Typical Slashdot Fashion, I Haven't Actually Read The Article

We will still use those double As... (1)

Blaine Hilton (626259) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774103)

This type of technology could have some interesting applications. What I see though is having this thing take a lot of the "dirty work" away from regular workers. If devices such as electric meters could power themselves they could power a transmitter/cell phone device that can eliminate the need for meter readers to physically come out to each meter and record the readings. Also many places where people would prefer not to go, such as sewers and duct systems.

However I do not see this as replacing the AA battery any time soon.

Go calculate [webcalc.net] something

On a vibrating cell phone would that not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5774104)

suck up all the energy so you would not feel
the vibrations?

I drop mine all the time. It would be better to
absorb the energy of impact on the concrete floor.

Bridge for ya... (1)

T3kno (51315) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774106)

I'm pretty sure that it would take infinitely more energy to do the vibrate() call than you would generate by the phone actually vibrating. The net effect would be an energy loss. Making the phone more effecient by collecting back some of the energy when the phone rings is a good idea, but just vibrating the phone every so often to create energy won't work.

If you've heard that you can charge a phone by calling it's vibrate() function then I have a bridge and some ocean front property in Arizona to sell you.

A Watch (1)

deanj (519759) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774107)

They've been able to do this with watches for years. I had a Seiko when I was a kid that did this.

I would think that it would take a heckuva lot of moving around to charge a cellphone, but I would imagine that there are other parts of a phone that could take that energy and use it. Not everything would have to run off the battery you have now.

Re:A Watch (2, Informative)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774162)

I was about to post this [howstuffworks.com] about 'self winding watches' but that would hardly be called 'vibrations'. Anyway, recovering energy, however miniscule, that would otherwise be waste heat is always good.

Wasted Energy (2, Funny)

3DKnight (589972) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774110)

No only if they could harness the wasted energy that sites writers use by making all the "high-tech" terms in their articles clickable to websearchs of the said terms to try and make it seem "cutting edge" internet reporting.

Light of my life... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5774111)

Aside from the obvious, imagine the ultimate cellphone - one that charges the battery every time it rings/vibrates, hence promising extended talktimes, and giving operators all the more reasons to get their customers to use their devices. How cool is that?

Not as cool as my solar-powered flashlight! You just shine it on itself and it runs forever!

Seriously though (1)

dlakelan (43245) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774121)

The really great thing about this concept would be if you could charge your cell phone while driving in the car, carrying it around in your pocket, and soforth.

There are seiko watches that do a similar thing (and there were mechanical watches that did it for years before quartz became the norm) but I am afraid it would be hard to extract enough power from these small movements to make much difference in a cell phone.

Perpetuum mobile (1)

photonic (584757) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774128)

The possibilities are limitless. Aside from the obvious, imagine the ultimate cellphone - one that charges the battery every time it rings/vibrates, hence promising extended talktimes, and giving operators all the more reasons to get their customers to use their devices. How cool is that?
Sure, hook the vibrating device of your cellphone (vibrator?) to the battery and have this new generator recharge the battery again. With the right settings you could have infinite power supply!!

I am not a physicist, but... (2, Insightful)

nicholasharbour (648961) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774130)

If you harnessed (sp?) the energy from the vibrating cell phone, wouldent it cease to vibrate, and thus be quite lame? The original article is ok, but this poster hasn't really thought this stuff through. Nick Harbour

Don't be silly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5774137)

The poster's assumption that the battery can be recharged by making it vibrate itself is completely silly. Making the phone vibrate uses energy. No matter how efficient the "energy from vibrations" system is - you will never manage to regain more energy than you've making the phone vibrate in the first place.

You can't create energy from thin air. Quit humping the perpetual motion / free energy fantasy - it's quack science. And to think that people subscribe to this site to see articles like this one?

Aside from being critical of the poster, it's an interesting technology. It recalls the days of "self-winding" mechanical watches that used the body's motion to stay keep wound up. I can already think of one possible killer application of this new idea - remote controls that don't need batteries.

Watches (1)

derfel (611157) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774138)

I've always thought this is a pretty cool feature of some watches. The perpetual rotor in a Rolex [rolex.com] seems like about the same thing. It would be nice if the same concept could be used to create electrical energy for a mobile phone/pda or other computing device.

Wowsers!! (0)

El_Smack (267329) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774140)

If this is true, the girls dorm at (insert university here) could power the whole campus!

no good for phones (1)

forgetmenot (467513) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774142)

No. No. No. While it's sensible that the technology could recharge a submarines batteries (for example) by harnessing engine vibration, both the engine and ultimately the battery are still getting their fuel from diesel, exploding atoms, or whatever.

You could not effectively use a vibrating phone's vibrations to charge itself. If you could, you would have a perpetual motion machine which is impossible. No explanation necessary. If you don't understand why, then go back to your physics 101 notes.

However, it IS feasible that the vibrations from the human body could be harnessed to power gadgets hanging off of said body. In fact, this is nothing really new here. There are wristwatches, for instance, that use the body's minute vibrations to drive their time-keeping mechanisms.

cold fusion (1, Funny)

lesburn1 (93956) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774143)

now if I could hook up my Utah Cold Fusion Battery
I could sell back power to the power Co. every night when I plug in my c-phone.

Laws of Physics (2, Informative)

chhamilton (264664) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774144)

I'm pretty sure that a call to vibrate() every few minutes will do nothing but drain the battery quicker. Obviously, the conversion from vibration back to stored electricity can't be 100% efficient, so vibrating the phone will always cause a net loss.

As somebody else mentioned, would this be able to harness motion of the phone? Most people lug their cell phones around in a pocket/bag/purse, and they go through a lot of motion in your average day. Given that this technology is purpose-built to extract energy from engine vibrations (thousands of RPMs) it seems unlikely that it could efficiently harness day-to-day jarring of a cell phone. Perhaps a mechanism like that found in self-winding watches (a simple unbalanced wheel and some gearing) might be better suited to the task... anybody know if this would be practical, or if it has been done before?

More useful idea for a cell phone (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774148)

would be a winding mechanism and possibly a self winding mechanism. Self winding could really be excellent source of alternative energy for such things as cell phones and PDAs, but they would not provide enough energy if the item lies there motionless for a long time.

Well, that depends... (3, Funny)

metlin (258108) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774152)

Do I see 3G applications with a vibrate() call mandatory every couple minutes?

And I thought there was just *one* of them G thingys that needed vibration.

And now its gonna be mandatory?! Every 2 mins?

ahem ;-)

Finally! (4, Funny)

Spackler (223562) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774153)

This is one slashdot story I'll need to read at -1, just for the vibrator trolls

Inept article selection, again (3, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774154)

How did this get past the Slashdot editors? Or did they put the random number program in charge of story selection again?

The actual invention is interesting, but only marginally useful. The idea is to power various low-power sensors using airflow or duct vibration in HVAC systems. This makes possible wireless sensors in some specialized applications. There might be applications in medical devices. But it's not a general purpose energy source.

Keep on BUZZING (1)

djblair (464047) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774158)

Imagine this technology in the adult toy indusrty. Doc Johnson introduces the "Perpetual Viberator!!" It's a fantastic investment opprotunity!!

Goddamn, what shit... (1)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774159)

I will now attempt to give some of the lesser intelligences on slashdot (ie. the editors) a clue.

You CAN get energy from harnessing vibrations. That dampens the vibrations. Therefore, if you wanted to use the vibration from a pager or cell phone to charge the battery, you would have to use even more power from the battery to make it vibrate at normal levels. The energy you would get from dampening the vibration would not be enough to make up from the energy you would have to use to make up for the dampening. The only use of the idea presented by JN (and vetted by Hemos) would be to send it to Congress and hope for some Congressmen to include a million dollars of new perpetual motion research in the next farm appropriations bill.

On the other hand, large motors and such do generate large amounts of vibration (and heat) as a necessary byproduct. There is nothing fundamentally impossible with harnessing this. It is almost certainly completely impractical, so you may just want to hook up an electrical generator to the swirlee-wheel on your hat instead.

good vibrations (4, Funny)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774165)


I dunno about this -- my girlfriend seems to have no energy whatsoever left after I apply vibrations to her for 10-15 minutes straight...

self recharging key fob (4, Interesting)

LuxFX (220822) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774167)

I had an idea kind of like this a while back, when I had to replace the little watch battery in the key fob for my car (the little remote-control that unlocks my doors). So instead of having to replace this battery, I thought it would be a good idea to make it a small rechargable battery. It would utilize the kinetic vibrations of the car, which would be transfered into electricity. Or to be more precise, inside the keyfob would be a tiny magnet on the end of a tiny spring. The vibrations would cause the spring to wave the magnet around, and the moving electromagnetic field would be transferred into electricity.

This would be especially efficient for the keyfobs that are part of the key structure themselves, so that they are directly connected to the steering column (as opposed to the ones that are simple part of the keychain and just dangle under the steering column)

And it's not like I'm claiming originality on this -- I got the idea from a tiny cell phone a friend brought back from Japan. It had no connectors on it to recharge the battery, but the recharger base would vibrate when the phone was set on it, and passed the electicity via electromagnetic fields.

BEST TROLL EVER (4, Funny)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774169)

Please. Everyone should make basic errors in logical reasoning in their submissions, that way, we'll never talk about anything else. Slashdot will be ruined. My evil plans will come to fruition! Ah ha ha ha ha HA HA HA!

Recharge by vibrate? (1)

tokki (604363) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774173)

If you reclaimed all the energy it took to vibrate a cell phone, it wouldn't vibrate. That's like an electric motor reclaiming it's power by running it through a generator.

Heavy toys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5774174)

Every device that uses one of these energy
absorbers will "seem" heavier, as the user's
normal day-to-day vibration is captured as
energy rather than being returned to the user
in pendulum motion. The effect may not be very
great, but it may be significant.

Designers of portable gear spend a lot of
effort designing weight and "bulk" (user-
perceived weight) out of their systems these
days.

Reduce the vibrate mode of the phone (1)

sabernar (245306) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774177)

If you just reduce the vibrate mode of the phone, you'll conserve power, then you'll be able to talk longer. Why bother trying to recover the vibration when you can just conserve power by REDUCING it in the first place?

Energy from vibrations (1)

supergiovane (606385) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774180)

Does it mean California has finally solved its power supply problems?

aw crap... (3, Funny)

aarondsouza (96916) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774181)

I can just see the spam hitting my mailbox...


12 inch vibrator! Save the environment while you pleasure yourself!

Many applications (2, Funny)

Rinisari (521266) | more than 11 years ago | (#5774191)

Those squiggly pens could be perpetual motion generators!
Pam and Tommy Lee could have powered the United States while they were together..
The San Andreas Power Plant..
The London Philharmonic Orchestral Power Plant..
Unrepaired PowerMac G4's could power themselves :-)
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?