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New Energy Harvesting Sensors

Can you print out a sensor from a printer and make it power itself from energy in the air? Apparently you can. Researchers have come up with a new energy harvesting device that can draw power from the radio and television transmitters, mobile phone networks and satellite communication systems.

The U.S. researchers have found a way to dip into the fog of electromagnetic energy which surrounds us at all times and use it to generate energy which can work a temperature sensor. The device takes the energy being transmitted in different frequencies and then converts it from AC to DC.

This is then stored in batteries or capacitors. Now it can be used to power many small electronic devices such as a number of sensors and microprocessors. Taking it a step further the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the researchers have begun using inkjet technology to print these energy-scavenging devices on paper or flexible paper-like polymers.

The same technique has already been used to successfully print out sensors and antennas. With that you get paper based wireless sensors that are self powered and low cost. Best of all they will be able to function in their own capacity almost anywhere.

Manos Tentzeris, a professor in the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering said that there was a large amount of electromagnetic energy all around us, but nobody has been able to tap into it. He added that they were using an ultra-wideband antenna that let them exploit a variety of signals in different frequency ranges, giving them greatly increased power-gathering capability.


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