Tag Archive for 'magnet'

Motion to Energy: Powering Devices the Kinetic Way

M2E Mobile Phone

The search for practical, cheap energy sources ranges from the exotic to the minute. Fossil fuels are shipped in from faraway countries. The energy of the atom is released and then re-harnessed. The steam vents of volcanoes are tapped.

But many renewable energy options take advantage of sources that are right in front of our faces. Solar power “steals” energy from the natural sunlight that already floods our planet every day. The wind and the ocean allow us to borrow mechanical energy from the natural motion of the environment.

Mobile phone As energy explorers become even more creative, they look even closer to home. The human body is almost always in motion. As you race around town conducting business or relaxing with friends, your personal possessions join you in this state of perpetual motion. Why not take advantage of this motion as an energy source for your personal electronics? M2E’s new battery technology promises to do exactly this.

The principle of motion-to-energy has been around for a long time. When a coil of wire is placed in a changing magnetic field, a current is induced in the coil. The changing magnetic field is supplied by mounting a magnet on springs. Every time the contraption gets a little jostle, the magnet moves back and forth, inducing a current. This setup is coupled with a battery that stores the induced electrical energy.

M2E’s major breakthrough was the production of a small-size setup that can handle high-power devices. This technological step, achieved at the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory, makes M2E feasible for use in cutting-edge modern electronics.

How will this help your high-tech life? Cell phones are a prime target for the use of M2E technology.

Current cell phone batteries have all sorts of disadvantages. To start with, they’re annoying. You continually need to plug them in to recharge. And if you’re caught away from your charger when your battery runs out, your lines of communication are gone.

What’s more, traditional cell phone batteries are guilty of all sorts of environmental crimes. They contain toxic materials that are difficult to dispose of safely. They waste energy when left plugged in for too long. And of course, that energy is drawn from the usual supply: the cocktail of power arising from gas, coal, and oil that is supplied by your power company. This means you’re leaving a carbon footprint and paying for it as well.

Motion to Energy But with M2E technology, your cell phone could recharge just by using the slight motions that are part of everyday life. Every time you turn your head while you talk, or move the phone across the room by pacing, you get a little bonus in your battery’s energy storage. Your phone will recharge even while you’re not using it; just carry it around with you and it will continually recharge.