Flat panels with thousand of windmills could be made and mounted on the walls of houses or building to harvest energy for lighting, security or environmental sensing and wireless communication
A UT Arlington research associate and electrical engineering professor have designed a micro-windmill that generates wind energy and may become an innovative solution to cell phone batteries constantly in need of recharging and home energy generation where large windmills are not preferred.
Smitha Rao and J.-C. Chiao designed and built the device that is about 1.8 mm at its widest point. A single grain of rice could hold about 10 of these tiny windmills. Hundreds of the windmills could be embedded in a sleeve for a cell phone. Wind, created by waving the cell phone in air or holding it up to an open window on a windy day, would generate the electricity that could be collected by the cell phone‘s battery.
Rao’s works in micro-robotic devices initially heightened a Taiwanese company’s interest in having Rao and Chiao brainstorm over novel device designs and applications for the company’s unique fabrication techniques, which are known in the semiconductor industry for their reliability.
“The company was quite surprised with the micro-windmill idea when we showed the demo video of working devices,” Rao said. “It was something completely out of the blue for them and their investors.”
Rao’s designs blend origami concepts into conventional wafer-scale semiconductor device layouts so complex 3-D moveable mechanical structures can be self-assembled from two-dimensional metal pieces utilizing planar multilayer electroplating techniques that have been optimized by WinMEMS Technologies Co., the Taiwanese fabrication foundry that took an initial interest in Rao’s work.
“The micro-windmills work well because the metal alloy is flexible and Smitha’s design follows minimalism for functionality.” Chiao said. WinMEMS became interested in the micro-electro mechanical system research and started a relationship with UT Arlington. Company representatives visited with the UT Arlington team several times in 2013 to discuss collaboration.
An agreement has been established for UT Arlington to hold the intellectual properties while WinMEMS explores the commercialization opportunities. UT Arlington has applied for a provisional patent.
Currently, WinMEMS has been showcasing UT Arlington’s works on its website and in public presentations, which include the micro-windmills, gears, inductors, pop-up switches and grippers. All of those parts are as tiny as a fraction of the diameter of a human hair.
These inventions are essential to build micro-robots that can be used as surgical tools, sensing machines to explore disaster zones or manufacturing tools to assemble micro-machines.
“It’s very gratifying to first be noticed by an international company and second to work on something like this where you can see immediately how it might be used,” said Rao, who earned her Ph.D in 2009 at UT Arlington. “However, I think we’ve only scratched the surface on how these micro-windmills might be used.” The micro windmills were tested successfully in September 2013 in Chiao’s lab. The windmills operate under strong artificial winds without any fracture in the material because of the durable nickel alloy and smart aerodynamic design.
“The problem most MEMS designers have is that materials are too brittle,” Rao said. “With the nickel alloy, we don’t have that same issue. They’re very, very durable.”
The micro-windmills can be made in an array using the batch processes. The fabrication cost of making one device is the same as making hundreds or thousands on a single wafer, which enables for mass production of very inexpensive systems.
“Imagine that they can be cheaply made on the surfaces of portable electronics,” Chiao said, “so you can place them on a sleeve for your smart phone. When the phone is out of battery power, all you need to do is to put on the sleeve, wave the phone in the air for a few minutes and you can use the phone again.”
Chiao said because of the small sizes, flat panels with thousand of windmills could be made and mounted on the walls of houses or building to harvest energy for lighting, security or environmental sensing and wireless communication.
The Latest on: Micro-windmills
via Google News
The Latest on: Micro-windmills
- Snake River dams vital to state’s clean energy goalson August 2, 2022 at 1:30 am
Timing is everything. On the very day a recent commentary (“Our grid can save salmon and a green energy future,” The Herald, July 25) claimed we can replace electricity from the Snake River dams with ...
- In The Wind-Sculpted City Of The Nabateanson August 1, 2022 at 5:11 pm
The most striking structure in this sculptured city is the so-called Treasury, the Al-Khazneh, 30 metres wide and 40 metres high. It really is the tomb of an ancient ruler. The people who designed all ...
- Stop by the Wind River Farmers Market at 789 tomorrow!on August 1, 2022 at 2:27 pm
Thank you to Wyoming Community Bank for sponsoring this content. The Wind River Farmers Market is here to bring you all the homegrown, fresh, and local items you’re looking for! This summer, the ...
- The Smartest Investors Know About This 1 Key Development at Qualcommon July 30, 2022 at 4:30 am
But this could be a really big deal, and is a top reason why Qualcomm could be a monster stock in the years ahead. Amidst its busy Build 2022 conference back in May, Microsoft unveiled a new computing ...
- Wind Power Equipment Market Size: Projected to reach USD 82690 million with Top Companies, Share Analysis, Future Growth, and Forecast to 2028on July 26, 2022 at 11:33 pm
The global Wind Power Equipment market size is estimated to be worth USD 65320 million in 2022 and is forecast to a readjusted size of USD 82690 million by 2028 with a CAGR of 4.0 ...
- Raymond James [RJF] Expert Sees Alternative Energy Adoption Acceleration: Demand for Wind, Solar and Hydrogen Poweron July 25, 2022 at 2:33 pm
Raymond James [RJF] and other Experts see alternative energy adoption acceleration: Demand for wind, solar and hydrogen creates stock picks.
- Statewide Micro-Weather Services in North Dakota for Advanced Drone Ops: TruWeather and Meteomaticson July 25, 2022 at 9:07 am
Grand Sky to Bring Nation’s First State-Wide Micro-Weather Services to North Dakota By: Dawn Zoldi Commercial and military drone operators unnecessarily cancel or delay an estimated 30 percent of all ...
- Wind Turbine Gearbox Bearings Market Share 2022: Trends, Growth, Size, Opportunity Assessment by Forecast to 2029on July 25, 2022 at 12:47 am
Global "Wind Turbine Gearbox Bearings Market" 2022: - Wind Turbine Gearbox Bearings Market report covers comprehensive ...
- Best garden plants for wind: Shrubs, flowers and trees to tackle 'gardener’s worst enemy'on July 24, 2022 at 8:01 pm
WIND can ravage the garden. Today Mark Lane discussed the damage it can cause, how to protect the garden from it and the best plants to stand up to the weather in his column for Express.co.uk.
- The Art of Home: A Wind River Story | Summer Spark!on July 21, 2022 at 6:00 am
For this week’s Summer Spark we’re thrilled to highlight the film “The Art of Home: A Wind River Story.” Take a look and then dive deeper with resources about the Wind River Reservation, home of the ...
via Bing News