Feeds

Energy scavenger eats leftover wireless signals

Nikola Tesla high-fives from the grave

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

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. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
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
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
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.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.