Subscribe and listen to AW’s podcast!
Subscribe and listen to the Automation World Gets Your Questions Answered podcast!
Listen Here

MIT Delivers New Findings on Energy-harvesting Sensors

New research points to a more advanced microelectromechinaical systems device, or MEMS, that can receive a wider range of vibrations and produce 100 times more power.

A new energy harvesting device converts low-frequency vibrations into electricity. The device, the size of a U.S. quarter, is sh
A new energy harvesting device converts low-frequency vibrations into electricity. The device, the size of a U.S. quarter, is sh
This post centers around new findings coming out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on microelectromechinaical systems, or MEMS. Energy harvesting has been a very interesting topic of conversation within manufacturing because it supposes that mechanical vibrations from motors or other industrial equipment can produce a consistent energy source for other devices. For example, wireless sensors networks could be powered by vibrations from a pipeline in the field, instead of battery power. That's been a big issue in the adoption of wireless sensor networks.

Past developments with energy harvesting have relied on piezoelectric (PZT) technology or multiple PZT layers on a microchip. However, PZT technology depends on mechanical vibrations within a certain frequency and outside of it, no power can be generated. Some have pushed for more "layers" on a chip to pick up more vibrations (or more energy), but that drives up costs and sensors need to be inexpensive for large deployments.

These new MIT findings see a design that increases the device's frequency range or bandwidth, while maximizing the power (energy) density. MIT researchers put it through a series of vibration tests and have calculated that the device was able to generate 45 microwaves of power with just a single layer of PZT--an improvement of two orders of magnitude compared to current designs, says MIT.

The MIT team published its results in the Aug. 23rd online edition of Applied Physics Letters.

>> Click here to read the MIT ENERGY-harvesting research paper.



Test Your Machine Learning Smarts
Take Automation World's machine learning quiz to prove your knowledge!
Take Quiz
Test Your Machine Learning Smarts
Discover New Content
Access Automation World's free educational content library!
Unlock Learning Here
Discover New Content