Feeds

Energy scavenger eats leftover wireless signals

Nikola Tesla high-fives from the grave

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

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. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
LOHAN invites ENTIRE REG READERSHIP to New Mexico shindig
Well, those of you who back our Kickstarter tin-rattling...
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
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?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.