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Using Vibrations as a Power Source

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the shake-up-the-system dept.

Science 42

FnH writes "The Inquirer is reporting that Hitachi has developed a technology capable of generating electricity from natural vibrations. While the amount of electricity generated is small, it could be used in sensors to relay data wirelessly to a computer."

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Let's bring on the obvious joke... (2, Funny)

sl8r (104278) | more than 11 years ago | (#6834523)

Then again, let's not...

Re:Let's bring on the obvious joke... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6834613)

Would it be ok to say "perpetuum mobile"?

Re:Let's bring on the obvious joke... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6834742)

Not if you want to get lynched.

Re:Let's bring on the obvious joke... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6834978)

Ah, I knew there was a reason for anonymous posting...

Re:Let's bring on the obvious joke... (1)

spike hay (534165) | more than 11 years ago | (#6865375)

No it wouldn't. This obviously isn't perpetual motion as it is fueled by energy in the form of sound waves. It produces a net loss of energy in changing it to electrical energy. Perpetual motion machines must produce a net gain of energy

Must post juvenile humor... Can't stop... Aaarrggh (3, Funny)

dmayle (200765) | more than 11 years ago | (#6834983)

For all the ladies reading slashdot:

In Soviet Russia, power source makes vibrations for YOU!

Hitachi strikes again. (1)

dtaczalski (638491) | more than 10 years ago | (#6837980)

Well, as you already started the subject I can not resist and clarify that it's not the first time Hitachi [] made a vibration related device.

Enough to run a goole search about famous Hitachi vibrator [] .

Re:Must post juvenile humor... redux (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6850256)

Today's Politically-incorrect Headline:
In Communist California, Janet Reno solves energy crisis!

Q:How many Janet Reno's does it take to power California?
A:Who cares? At least she's not hanging around Florida anymore.

Thank you, I'll be here all week. Don't forget to tip your waitress...

To stem the flow... (1, Funny)

dirtmerchant (162306) | more than 11 years ago | (#6834561)

Insert obligatory juvenile sexual reference here.

Now that its out of the way, lets have what passes for an intellectual discussion on this site.

D1LD0 VRIBAT0R!!!!1!!11 LOL!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6834866)

At Last! (1)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 11 years ago | (#6834642)

The Seiko Kinetic Watch for women!

This reminds me.. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6834669)

Haven't we seen something like this before [] ?

Re:This reminds me.. (1)

Molina the Bofh (99621) | more than 11 years ago | (#6834841)

Imagine if they found a way to generate electricity from dupes. The amount of energy would be huge.

Re:This reminds me.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6835046)

If you don't subscribe you get the dupes. So pay up!

Regenerative shock absorbers (4, Interesting)

mlinksva (1755) | more than 11 years ago | (#6834785)

This article made me think "hey, what about regerative shock absorbers?" Not "natural vibrations", but anyway ... it was being studied (PDF) [] , as of 2001 anyway. That paper says that based on experiments, "the average vehicle on the average road driving at 45 mph might be able to recover up to 70% of the power that is needed for such a vehicle to travel on a smooth road at 45 mph". Anyone know of more current research or implementation plans?

Re:Regenerative shock absorbers (1)

vigilology (664683) | more than 11 years ago | (#6835320)

The paper is saying that the car might be almost 70% efficient?

Re:Regenerative shock absorbers (1)

Unatanium (691741) | more than 11 years ago | (#6852049)

I realize this is an old post and more than likely no one will read this, but I just couldn't resist. How are the regenerative shock absorbers going to recover energy on a smooth road? Or am I just misreading your quote?

Similar research has occured at the University of Idaho (sorry no link handy) on "active" self damping structures using piezo electric technology.

Re:Regenerative shock absorbers (1)

mlinksva (1755) | more than 11 years ago | (#6852567)

I quoted from the beginning of the paper. Further down, it seems that all roads, even "smooth" ones, have small bumps. I think that rather than smooth road they meant "typical US highway". See [] .

Re: Using Vibrations as a Power Source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6834939)

Hitachi makes use of a method using vibrations that occur naturally

i don't know if i believe in these "naturally occurring vibrations" that they're talking about. i'll believe in them once i see some proof.

Re: Using Vibrations as a Power Source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6835233)

Hey, it's an EARTHQUAKE!

Doesn't get much more natural than that.

Not much info... (2, Insightful)

Drakker (89038) | more than 11 years ago | (#6835342)

The article doesnt go into details... but what if we start to mass produce them? Would my computer fan emit enough vibration to get some energy? What about hearthbeats?

Could we put some of them under the most used roads or on wind mills? (spinning would emit vibrations, the wind too).

I'm pretty sure that even if they dont produce much energy, a LOT of them would produce a lot of energy, vibrations are waves and they can go through a lot of those devices before beign too weak to produce any energy.

Re:Not much info... (1)

weemattisnot (703387) | more than 11 years ago | (#6844547)

If we massed produced them, we'd deplete the earth of it's natural vibrations....the real question is: What would that be like?

Free power for me! (1)

hkon (46756) | more than 11 years ago | (#6835355)

That is, the neighbors on the floor below pay for it with their huge stereo.

(no, I didn't bother to read the article, this is just a lame joke)

Re:Free power for me! (1)

A55M0NKEY (554964) | more than 11 years ago | (#6849773)

Miniaturize this down to NanoScale, and you'd have a the Maxwell House Demon 3000 hot coffee energy extractor. Like Mr. Fusion, it straps nicely to a Delorian, and tucks neatly behind the can opener in the kitchen.

a dup (3, Interesting)

JDizzy (85499) | more than 11 years ago | (#6835541)

Technicly this is a dup [] of a previous technology.

In Soviet Russia (-1, Troll)

QEDog (610238) | more than 11 years ago | (#6835662)

...the vibration powers you!
... the power vibrates you!
now I am confused! These Soviet Russia jokes can get complicated.

Saw this 8 years ago (4, Interesting)

menscher (597856) | more than 11 years ago | (#6835672)

Ever see a self-winding watch? Usually they use an off-center weight that spins around to wind a spring. Saw one 8 years ago that spun a magnet through a coil of wire to charge a capacitor. Neat stuff, but you have to wear the watch every day or it will wind down.

Re:Saw this 8 years ago (2, Informative)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 11 years ago | (#6836908)

Swatch have two ranges of watches like this. The "Automatic" is mechainical and the "Autoquarz" is electrical. I own quite a number of Autoquarz Swatches and while the will discharge when stored, a couple of shakes and they're up and running again. In fact, if you pull the crown out so the hands stop, the watch remains charged. Seiko's latest have a neat trick. Leave it still for long enough and the hands stop moving. The batteries then last a lot longer and when you move it again it simply sets the hands to the right time. Funky tech.

Useless as vibration detection? (4, Insightful)

Kasoni (700097) | more than 11 years ago | (#6835701)

There are already motion detectors and orientation arrays (for example the clasic ball in a cage). Why would one that creates electricity be of any use? Not to mention what would it be useful for since any vibration would set it off (maybe nice for blinking lights or letting the computer know you are moving the drawing pen for you digital drawing pad, but what else?) That comment about putting them under roads is great, but how about IN cars and busses? Line the frame and they could create a load of energy. These can be used in addition to any current way of getting energy (coal-burnning plants have huge turbines that create both a lot of sound and shaking, perfect for these). You could even go so far as to line walls with them and sell it as a light energy saver and noice reducer. Hook it into the main and it will help to reduce energy useage, heck if it makes enough you could even sell off the extrea to the power company :) The only problem is making them efficent and durable enough to be worth the price and produce large enough amounts of electricity to be worth using.

Hitachi knows its vibrations (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6835761)

The Hitachi Magic Wand [] is, of course, "the cadillac of vibrators". Go Hitachi!

Energy from your Purrrrrrse (2, Funny)

poptones (653660) | more than 11 years ago | (#6836948)

Heeere, kitty, kitty... []

washing machine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#6837463)

So when my sister sits on the washing machine, shes just powering up her walkman, right?

Re:washing machine (1)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 10 years ago | (#6837552)

So you must be wondering what she's up to when she's at work, sitting on the photocopier.

All this hoo-ha (1)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 10 years ago | (#6837543)

About some company who thought to wire a piezo-electric crystal to a battery.

What will they think of next?

This tech is already in products (2, Informative)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 10 years ago | (#6837740)

This is soo old news. This vibrations-to-power technoogy was already on the market in 2002 in self-powered structural integrity systems in tennis rackets [] . A similar system is used in some makes of snow skis to help dampen vibrations.

Newer news was is Science News in August 9, 2003 in "Electric Foam" (sorry, I don't have a link to the full text). Its a way to make piezoelectric polypropylene foam. Although the material needs more development (it losses its piezoelectric properties at temperatures that might occur in a car glove box), the new foam could expand the use piezoelectric materials in consumer products.

More like a century old! (2, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 10 years ago | (#6839461)

Even a century ago people were building clocks that were powered by changes in air pressure. My alpine skis have LEDs mounted in them that are powered by peizo vibrations. And think geek sells a faraday flashlight powered by shaking it.

Just run a long wire (4, Interesting)

macemoneta (154740) | more than 10 years ago | (#6838972)

Back when I was a cub scout (about 40 years ago), we ran a 50 foot wire and a ground connection. Connected them to a neon bulb and it lit up.

What's happening, if it isn't obvious, is that the radio signals broadcast all over the place are being "harvested" by the wire (antenna).

Forty years later, there's so much more RF (cell phones, cordless phones, 802.11, more radio stations, leakage from power lines, etc.), you could probably get the same effect with a 10 foot wire, especially in urban areas.

The wire can be (at least partially) coiled so it doesn't take as much space. It can also be "tuned" (trimmed to a specific length) to optimize signal reception. With a small capacitor to smooth fluctuations, you have more than enough power for micro-electronic devices.

Re:Just run a long wire (1)

Stapedius (577096) | more than 11 years ago | (#6850499)

With due respect, are you sure this would work? I would love to see this experiment tried again by somebody, specifically with an analysis across the frequency spectrum to attempt to determine exactly what signals are the culprit. For people trying this at home, doing the experiment with a voltmeter instead of an actual power-gobbling device (like the flourescent bulb cited) isn't going to be valid (I think). How much power does a flourescent bulb suck up anyway? I would (perhaps incorrectly) assume that it is significant... 5-10 Watts or so?? Regardless of whether the flourescent bulb experiment really works, I of course agree that there are radio waves and that they do transmit power which could hypothetically be harvested. I guess that I have this mental picture of a bunch of cub scouts standing next to a giant transmitting antenna....

Re:Just run a long wire (1)

macemoneta (154740) | more than 11 years ago | (#6851030)

Heh, no offense, but you must be pretty young. :-)

In the "old days" crystal radios were popular. No battery, just an antenna, ground, tuning coil, "cat's whisker" diode, and earphone. The power is supplied by the radio signal itself. Reception was pretty good, even 50 miles from the transmitter.

Now, if you want real power, run 1000+ feet of wire elevated and insulated from the ground. Instead of just harvesting RF, you've now created a long-wire capacitor, and you are harvesting static electricity from the moving air! These were usually combined with a spark gap (an old spark plug), and step-down transformer to create a pulse charger for a battery. See:

By the way, a neon bulb is not a flourescent bulb. A neon bulb is a small glass bulb filled with neon gas, with two connections. It draws less than a watt, but needs high voltage (70V or so) to light.

what i heard about this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6843538)

was that your mother should be able to power all of the northeast...

(thank you junior high...)

*BSD is dyng (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6856117)

Fact: *BSD is dying

It is common knowledge that *BSD is dying, that ever hapless *BSD is mired in an irrecoverable and mortifying tangle of fatal trouble. It is perhaps anybody's guess as to which *BSD is the worst off of an admittedly suffering *BSD community. The numbers continue to decline for *BSD but FreeBSD may be hurting the most. Look at the numbers. The loss of user base for FreeBSD continues in a head spinning downward spiral.

OpenBSD leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of OpenBSD. How many users of BSD are there? Let's see. The number of OpenBSD versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetBSD users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetBSD posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put FreeBSD at about 80 percent of the *BSD market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeBSD users. This is consistent with the number of FreeBSD Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, FreeBSD went out of business and was taken over by BSDI who sell another troubled OS. Now BSDI is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major marketing surveys show that *BSD has steadily declined in market share. *BSD is extremely sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If *BSD is to survive at all it will be among hobbyist dilettante dabblers. In truth, for all practical purposes *BSD is already dead. It is a dead man walking.

Fact: *BSD is dying

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