Power has long been the Achilles’ heel of just about every portable device that’s come out. If it isn’t a short battery life, our little hand held gadgets weighed about as much as a spare tire. Lithium Ion cells have long since been the ideal medium for extended battery life. They’re on our cellphones, laptops and digital cameras. They are also pricey. But just like any other medium, they only store power and would eventually need to be plugged in again. But what if your iPooed ran out of juice and you’re on the road, or worse, there’s a black out in your area. Let’s admit it; we are slaves to our hand held doodads, and power companies and battery manufacturers have us by the balls. Now imagine this; what if we could break free from the limitations of rechargeable cells and be able to charge just about anytime, anywhere. Solar panels are good but you need, well, the Sun. And I don’t think strapping miniature windmills onto your back would be called fashionable, let alone smart.
Now Brother Industries thinks they may have found the solution. Yes, the same people who make them printers and fax machines. The Japanese company recently unveiled vibration-harvesting cells that look like your standard AA or AAA sized cells. The system works like your standard dynamos, with the difference being, you don’t have a motor you have to wind. Instead you shake the said cells and voila, POWAH~! Think about how automatic\self-winding watches work. But instead of springs that store the energy, you have batteries.
A Brother spokesperson explained to BBC News; “Our Vibration Energy Cells generate electricity using a coil, a magnet, and condenser that charges electricity. These are all embedded in the battery. Because of its low output this type of cell is designed to be used for things such as TV remote controls and LED devices, which consume low power and do not consume electrical power continuously.”
OK, so maybe it won’t be powering your laptops and cellphones just yet, but the fact that the tech is now in development does make things look promising. The concept isn’t entirely new, the Toyota Prius’ Hybrid engine works the same way. And Porsche took that concept to a whole new level. It’s just that the system itself hasn’t been reduced to a more compact size that we could use up until recently. I’ve seen flash lights/torches at the hardware store that are already employing the said concept. Now if only we could get it to work with force feedback motors, perhaps we’ll have self-charging PS3 controllers or Wiimotes. Or even infinitely powered onanism devices.