Businessweek Article

How Vibration Could Power Our Wearables

by, David Meyer

In this article, it describes how power can be restored from practical to the experimental. For instance, Perpetuum’s Vibration Energy Harvester (VEH), “is a wireless sensor that attaches to rotating components, such as wheel bearings, on trains.” This is a device measures the temperature and is powered by a mechanical vibration. And if any failure does occur, it wirelessly transmits the results to the train operator automatically, so they can fix the problem early on. And since it is powered by mechanical vibration, it doesn’t need battery replacing. It mentions how Perpetuum is part of Wibrate, in which Wibrate is a self-powered vibration-monitoring technology. With all this new technology it appears to be very vital to the environment and able to use the environment in a proficient way.

This vibration energy plays the same role in this company named Cherry’s energy-harvesting switch. Cherry’s new product, the light bulb, basically runs wirelessly as well, with an on and off switch that doesn’t require an external powering. It only power it needs to receive is by pressing the switch, which that creates enough energy to power the transmission.

Another technology is Photovoltaic technology, that is embedded in smart fabrics. Powerweave is a project from Europe and Ohmatex is a company that is working this fabric useful. There are 2 kinds or fiber, one for harvesting the solar energy and the other for storing it. Ohmatex goes into how much energy it could store and what can it actually be used for. It says it could be applicable for flexible roofing, tents, and sun awnings, and hot air balloons.

Then the article brought up, “what about fabrics that can harvest energy from movement rather than light? I thought that was a good point that was brought up. If regular people you and I are able to wear this kind of fabric around us and someone how it is able to do innovative and cool things. Like lighting up clothing and powering our cell phones and etc. Then it mentioned how it would need to be resistant to water since this fabric would have to be washed in the machine from time to time.

I was thinking if we were able to store energy on our clothes at some point do to our movement, maybe we can use that energy to charge our devices. Like have a little plug-in on our shirt, where it is unnoticeable but easily reached and used.

Or if they figure out a way to use the Clicc which is a handheld solar panel little gadget, in which connects and charges your mobile devices, that would great approach too, in utilizing what we have.

It seems all these smart innovative little projects the European Union is working on are all excellent directions in which we must go in, a more eco-friendly incentive. I like all these ideas and it’s a neat way to rely less on electricity and more on alternatives like wind and solar, areas where we don’t take much advantage of. In essence, it will allow, us, as humans to become more responsible in conserving our energy and making a difference.


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