Feeds

Japanese boffins demo sound-powered vibe lights

Son et lumière, literally. Plus: The Song of e-Money

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Boffins at the University of Tokyo have been demonstrating LED lights driven by directional sound waves, but reckon the technology for delivering electricity has even better applications.

The installation consists of LEDs hung on wires around a large room, each LED being accompanied by a brace of microphones which pick up sound and turn it into power, all caught on film by DigInfoTV. The demonstrator points a standard directional speaker at the wall, causing groups of LEDs to light up, but the researchers reckon it’s the ability to use human-audible sound which makes their technology useful.

Wireless delivery of power is relatively easy using an induction coil, but only at very short ranges. This receiving tech can pick up 10mW of energy from a speaker half a meter away, and a single milliwatt from 5 meters off, which is still enough to power an LED or charge up a sensor's battery.

It's certainly a lot more sensible that Orange's headline-grabbing t-shirt which was supposed to grab electricity from the guitar riffs at Glastonbury - but that did come demonstrated by a leggy model rather than Japanese boffins.

Energy harvesting, as the technique is properly called, is increasing in popularity, as much because of the frugal power requirements of today's (basic) tech as the ability to generate more power. Wireless light switches powered by the pressing finger are a personal favourite, but battlefields are increasingly being covered by disposable sensors which pick up power from the vibrations of passing vehicles (and use that power to report the presence of the aforementioned vehicles). Solar power is still preferred for military apps, as it produces more current, but at a cost of being visible to the enemy.

The Tokyo boffins reckons their tech could be used to power contactless credit cards, which currently use a very-short-range induction coil for power. Sound could deliver the power right to the user's pocket, and so negate the need to take out the card, with the added advantage that the user could hear when their card was being powered - making life much harder for the electronic pick-pocket. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.