Walking can boost not only your own energy, but also potentially the energy of your wearable electronic devices. Osaka Metropolitan University scientists have made a significant advance in portable self-charging devices with the invention of a dynamic magnifier-enhanced piezoelectric vibration energy harvester that can amplify about 90 times the power generated by impulsive vibrations, such as human walking, about 90 times, while remaining the same. as small as the currently developed energy harvesting systems. The results were published in Applied Physics Letters.
Nowadays, people carry more electronic devices such as smartphones, and wearable devices are expected to become more and more widespread in the near future. The resulting demand for more efficient recharging of these devices has increased the focus on energy harvesting, a technology that converts energy such as heat and light into electricity that can power small devices. A form of energy harvesting called vibration energy harvesting is considered highly practical, given that it can convert kinetic energy from vibrations into electricity and is not affected by weather or climate.
A research team led by Associate Professor Takeshi Yoshimura of Osaka Metropolitan University’s Graduate School of Engineering has developed a microelectromechanical system (MEMS) piezoelectric vibration energy harvesting system that is only about 2 cm in diameter with a metal component U-shaped called dynamic magnifier. . Compared to conventional harvesters, the new harvester allows for an approximately 90-fold increase in power converted from impulsive vibrations, which can be generated by human walking motion.
The team worked to develop vibrational energy harvesting systems that use the piezoelectric effect, a phenomenon where certain types of materials produce an electrical charge or voltage in response to applied pressure. So far, they have been able to generate microwatt-level electricity from mechanical vibrations with a constant frequency, such as those generated by motors and washing machines. However, the energy generation of these harvesters drops drastically when the applied vibrations are non-stationary and impulsive, such as those generated by human walking.
Responding to this challenge, the team developed and incorporated the U-shaped vibration amplification component under the harvester. The component allowed for improved energy production without increasing the size of the device. The technology is expected to generate electricity from erratic vibrations, including walking motion, to power small, portable devices such as smartphones and wireless headphones.
Professor Yoshimura concluded: “As electronic devices are expected to become more energy efficient, we hope this invention will contribute to the realization of portable self-charging devices.”
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Materials provided by Osaka Metropolitan University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.