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Power Hardware Technology Science

Self-Powered Parts Are the Future 101 101

bossanovalithium writes that an umbrella group including Japanese heavyweights like Panasonic and Toyota is working on bringing the price of self powered parts down to levels where they can be mass produced: "The idea is that the parts will make external power sources redundant — because they can convert energy from body heat, light and vibrations straight into electricity. Self powered electronics have already sporadically been used in technology like wall-mount remote control units for air conditioners, says Nikkei, but existing parts are bulky and cost a couple thousand yen a piece. 3,000 yen is about $35 — which means they're not the best bet, financially, yet."
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Self-Powered Parts Are the Future

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 06, 2010 @01:08PM (#33489586)

    Things that don't need a lot of power yet are always in movement and/or attached to the body? The only thing that meets that criteria is a watch. They've been self-winding for decades.

    If there's enough power in the environment to power useful electronic devices above the level of a watch or a remote (that's used maybe twice a day), then we'd be on fire.

    Nothing to see here. This is about as useful as a Space Nutter thread.

  • Re:Not quite right (Score:2, Insightful)

    by whrde (1120405) on Monday September 06, 2010 @01:09PM (#33489594) Homepage

    The story is not about a magical new source of infinite energy. It's about not having to build, integrate, connect and maintain an external power supply.

  • by anguirus.x (1463871) on Monday September 06, 2010 @01:12PM (#33489624)
    At least until someone releases "Bust A Charge" that has users perform gestures while holding the phone resembling dance steps, and thus recharging the phone.
  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday September 06, 2010 @01:28PM (#33489768) Journal

    If there's enough power in the environment to power useful electronic devices above the level of a watch or a remote (that's used maybe twice a day), then we'd be on fire.

    I used to have a pocket calculator that was powered by a small solar panel. The power requirements of something like a central heating control are similar. Even the parts are similar: small LCD, simple microcontroller, just the addition of a valve or two to control the water flow.

    My router has a 7W power supply. It is in a 6" square box, so the amount of solar energy hitting it is about three times the amount of electricity that it requires at peak times, although no solar cell will extract anything like that much yet. Still, it's a relatively old design and you could probably do the same thing now in 1-2W, making it a lot more feasible.

    In my nextdoor neighbour's garden, there are a number of self-contained garden lights. They have a solar panel on top, which charges a battery during the day and they discharge at night, so they have no need for an external power source. If there weren't a lot of energy in the environment, then this planet would not have developed a breathable atmosphere.

  • by hitmark (640295) on Monday September 06, 2010 @02:00PM (#33490104) Journal

    Depends. Consider a medical implant using this and the recent bluetooth 4 standard for low power connectivity to ever so often send some status out. Perhaps someone with diabetes could get a running count on their blood sugar, rather then having to prick their finger ever so often. Or we could be looking at a grid of low power sensors that use the same to send updates to a hub that use some kind of data connection (perhaps sat phone) to keep a record of conditions in a remote area. Thing is we do not know how they will be applied until they are available. The trick is to make them enough of a commodity that people can experiment.

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)