Feeds

Energy scavenger eats leftover wireless signals

Nikola Tesla high-fives from the grave

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

No, it’s not another cute-but-useless contactless charger: a group of researchers led by Manos Tentzeris at Georgia Tech are working on antennae that could scavenge stray wireless signals to power small sensors or microprocessors.

If you’re close enough to a large radio transmitter, harvesting stray energy is pretty straightforward: an old-fashioned long fluorescent tube will at least glow if it’s close enough to a high-power radio transmitter (or, as demonstrated in an art installation, near power transmission lines).

Harvesting “random” signals from the air is more difficult. The ambient signals that surround us all, causing cancer (or not), headaches (or not), or irrational panic (too often) among anyone who notices the transmitter, is of much lower power, and isn’t concentrated around a single frequency.

To turn those stray signals into electricity – in small quantities, so don’t expect a “free” laptop charger anytime soon – the Georgia Tech researchers designed an ultra-wideband antenna that can pick up signals from 100 MHz to around 15 GHz.

The Georgia Tech research has another cool angle to it: the antennas were printed onto flexible material using a modified inkjet that uses refills containing silver and other nanoparticles in an emulsion. By printing onto polymer instead of paper, the group hopes to create antennae operating at up to 60 GHz.

In experiments so far, the antennas have been able to harvest “hundreds of microwatts” from TV bands, successfully powering a temperature sensor using power scavenged from a transmitter a kilometer distant.

You can find more info about Georgia Tech's power forager here. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?