Top 7 Ambient Energy Technologies
7. Tree Power
Developed by researchers at MIT, and now under the umbrella of a company called Voltree Power, a network of harvesters sucks metabolic energy from trees to power simple environmental sensors that monitor forest health and fire risks.
6. Dance Power
Sustainable Dance Club is a Rotterdam company with a dance floor that turns dancers’ movement into electricity—up to 30 watts for each square of the floor, or 5 to 20 watts- per person depending on dance style.
5. Wireless Ambient Radio Power
Joshua Smith, an engineering professor at the University of Washington and his students converted radio waves from a TV tower more than two miles away to electricity to run an LCD display kitchen thermometer.
4. Smart Hardhat
The Smart Hat is the work of Jochen Teizer of Georgia Tech and Matt Reynolds of Duke University. The hardhat harnesses radio waves from bulldozer transmitters to power a beeping sensor, which alerts workers if equipment gets too close.
3. Piezoelectric Pad For Roads, Trains
Pads from Israeli company Innowattech convert mechanical strain into electrical power to monitor trains or roads, or to provide power.
2. Power Pack
Lawrence Rome, a University of Pennsylvania professor, created this suspended backpack, the Lighting Pack, which transforms energy from up-and-down movement into enough electricity to power a few personal devices.
1. PowerWalk Knee Brace
Bionic Power’s PowerWalk, developed by Max Donelan at Canada’s Simon Fraser University, generates 12 watts on varied terrain. The brace engages only on the back sweep of the stride, helping the knee slow the leg, and absorbing this energy much like regenerative brakes in a hybrid car.