Exactly, MyDesign. Energy-harvesting is really growing but it's not like it's suddenly going to replace batteries or traditional means of power. I think the research into both areas, as you point out, has to be on parallel tracks and I also think the two are complementary, not necessarily competitive, technologies. That's the case with some of the research, in which there is a harvester that does some of the work while batteries do the rest.
"I think the demand for energy is growing at too fast a pace for typical means to constantly support it. Still, innovations in new battery designs also will keep batteries in play for the forseeable future."
Elizabeth, you are right. when new technologies are deriving for various applications from alternate energy sources are deriving, similar inventions has to happen in preserving/storing that energy too. both has to be synchronized, otherwise we won't be able to derive the full benefit of new technology.
I agree, MyDesign, the way forward is to take the energy that can be generated from so many sources other than chemical-based batteries or electricial wires. I think the demand for energy is growing at too fast a pace for typical means to constantly support it. Still, innovations in new battery designs also will keep batteries in play for the forseeable future.
"I am imagining that one day one of these energy-harvesting systems will be strong enough to power a mobile phone, whether they harvest from solar, vibration, the heat of human touch--whatever! It seems like this technology is progressing quite fast so someone far more intelligent than me can come up with something soon."
Elizabeth, the seed is good and I think research community had start working on that. Alternate energy sources (solar, vibration, wind etc) are the only reliable energy source for future.
Using wireless chips and accessories, engineers can now extract data from the unlikeliest of places -- pumps, motors, bridges, conveyors, refineries, cooling towers, parking garages, down-hole drills and just about anything else that can benefit from monitoring.
With strong marketplace demand for qualified engineers across the board that currently outstrips the available supply, there may never be a better time for engineers and project managers to advance their careers and salaries. Whether those moves are successful in the short-term and long-term is likely to depend on how the transition from one job to the next is handled.
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