Nine Innovations For the Electronics Engineer In You

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Nanogenerator for harvesting wind, solar energy to power IoT devices

The Internet of Things (IoT) could make cities smarter by connecting an extensive network of tiny communications devices to make life more efficient. But all such machines require a lot of energy. Rather than adding to the global reliance on fossil fuels to power the network, researchers have come up with a solution.

For the first time, researchers have integrated two energy-harvesting technologies in one: a silicon solar cell and a nanogenerator that can convert wind energy into electrical output. The solar cell component of the system delivers eight milliwatts of power output (one milliwatt can light up 100 small LEDs). The wind harvesting component delivers up to 26 milliwatts. Together, under simulated sun and wind conditions, four devices on the roof of a model home could turn on the LEDs inside and power a temperature-humidity sensor. Installed in large numbers on rooftops, the hybrid device could help enable smartcities.

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Demo model of the project where the nanogenerator installed on rooftop provides enough energy to power the entire smarthouse below it

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