Thanks for that link, Nancy. Every time I've read one of Liz's articles, I've wondered about using energy harvesting to power a pacemaker or implantable defibrillator. But I never considered that the heart itself would provide the current. Great link.
Forgive me if I'm repeating myself, dbell5, but did you see this article I wrote: http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=264515
That's the one about the energy-harvesting shock absorbers. Maybe I posted it already in a comment, if shock absorbers already were mentioned, but I am not sure. In any case, you are right that this seems a great place for energy harvesting.
Since shock absorbers were mentioned, I've long thought that there lies an ideal, essentially free, source of recovered energy. Because the very purpose of them is to convert mechanical energy into another form - generally heat - as a means of damping motion, it seems a no-brainer.
With current power management and conversion devices, controlled transformation of suspension motion into electrical energy is looking feasible.
While I agree that tires are a noisy environment I also question the assertions about "shocks" in the tire rotation. There is a flexing motion but that does not fit the normal descriptio for a shock wave. In addition I have a concern about the lifespan of anything attached to the tire's inside surface. While it would be a good location for capturing flexural motion it would also be subject to damage from the tire installation and removal operations. But the concept of powering a tire pressure monitor from vehicle motion is a very good idea. The challenge will be the effort of making sure that the receiver on the vehicle is able to communicate with the tires correctly.
That definitely seems to be the direction this technology is heading, Chuck. It doesn't seem to make sense to try to power MCUs any other way now, especially with the deman for ultra-low-power electronics.
Going by the confidence that Panasonic and Imec are portraying in regard to their new development, it would only be right to assume that the effectiveness of the energy harvested matches the other mainstream sources of energy or even surpasses them. It would be a great disappointment to raise the hopes of car developers before a great backlash.
In a bid to boost the viability of lithium-based electric car batteries, a team at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has developed a chemistry that could possibly double an EV’s driving range while cutting its battery cost in half.
Using Siemens NX software, a team of engineering students from the University of Michigan built an electric vehicle and raced in the 2013 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. One of those students blogged for Design News throughout the race.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.