The folks over at Georgia Institute of Technology have managed to pull a rabbit out of a hat, and I have to admit I’m more than a little impressed. They have created a device that is able to draw ambient energy out of the air so it can be used to power small electronic devices. Kind of takes the concept of “vampire power” to a whole new level, doesn’t it? But this is even better, as the energy it uses would otherwise be wasted.

The Georgia Tech team uses inkjet printing technology to combine sensors, antennas and energy scavenging capabilities on paper or flexible polymers to take advantage of ambient frequencies from FM radio to radar, at a range of 100 Mhz to 15 GHz or higher. These are then converted from AC to DC and stored in batteries and capacitors. This is accomplished using an ultra-wideband antenna through the equivalent of magic to someone as scientifically ignorant as myself. They’ve been able to generate hundreds of milliwatts just from TV bands so far, and expect that future multiband systems will be able to produce one milliwatt or better (which is enough to operate small electronic devices).

They’ve got huge plans for the future, most of which I have to admit I don’t even come close to understanding. Here’s where I regret goofing off all the way through science classes in high school…who knew I’d actually want to know that stuff as an adult? But the Georgia Tech team is sure that self-powered, wireless paper-based sensors will soon be widely available at very low cost sooner than you think. We can only stand by and hope that it’s true.

Source: Gizmag

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