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Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a new chip that has the exciting possibility of generating energy from three separate sources; solar, heat, and motion, all at the same time. This ability makes the chip very efficient, and a great alternative to simple batteries.
Anantha Chandrakasan, the MIT professor in charge of the research, said that, “today there are devices to scavenge energy from solar or vibration. This can replace them to provide more power by combining several sources.”
The chip generates power through its integrated solar cells, thermoelectric generators, and vibration harvesters, which it can then use in real time, completely eliminating the need for a battery. However the uses of this chip are more limited than a battery due to the fact that it can only produce five volts.
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Instead of replacing all common batteries, this technology is much more likely to appear in biomedical devices such as ECG monitors, in environmental scanners, and almost any other hard to reach spot where batteries would just be too difficult to replace. Given that the whole project was funded by the Interconnect Focus Center, which is home to the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, it is very likely that this chip could be included in military technologies.
Ahmed Amer, an Associate Professor in computer engineering at the University of Santa Clara, said that, “The chip opens up the door to deploying technologies in environments that would previously have been considered unfeasible … environments that are too poor, remote, or undeveloped to have reliable energy infrastructure.”
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com