Skip to Content

Good Vibrations

Who needs batteries? Small gadgets could draw power from the tiny tremors in your office or car.

Tiny tremors in your office or car could soon power all sorts of small gadgets, thanks to MIT materials scientists Robert O’Handley and Jiankang Huang. The pair have developed devices less than five centimeters long that transform slight vibrations into usable electricity. Inside, a spring links a magnet and a coil of copper wire; minuscule movements of the magnet and coil produce an electric current. Attached to a rattling duct or water pump, the device generates a few milliwatts of power-enough to drive, say, a temperature sensor. The duo cofounded Ferro Solutions in Cambridge, MA, which is partnering with Cambridge, MA-based Millennial Net to build battery-free wireless sensors for factory and building management. Other anticipated applications include energy sources for automotive sensors, micromotors in printers, and even cell phones.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

A Roomba recorded a woman on the toilet. How did screenshots end up on Facebook?

Robot vacuum companies say your images are safe, but a sprawling global supply chain for data from our devices creates risk.

A startup says it’s begun releasing particles into the atmosphere, in an effort to tweak the climate

Make Sunsets is already attempting to earn revenue for geoengineering, a move likely to provoke widespread criticism.

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2023

Every year, we pick the 10 technologies that matter the most right now. We look for advances that will have a big impact on our lives and break down why they matter.

These exclusive satellite images show that Saudi Arabia’s sci-fi megacity is well underway

Weirdly, any recent work on The Line doesn’t show up on Google Maps. But we got the images anyway.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.