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article imageNatural vibration-powered, micro-generator could help heart pacemakers

By Paul Wallis     Jul 5, 2007 in Science
The problem with a lot of modern equipment, notably wireless sensors, is replacing batteries. With pacemakers it’s worse. It’s difficult, no fun for the patient, and now it’s avoidable.
This generator has solved that problem, and the logistics of wireless technology are looking a lot healthier themselves. The vibrations around it move tiny magnets, which generate power. It only produces microwatts, but that’s more than enough.
It’s now considered feasible to use more sensors than they were using before, because the gutsy micro generator seems to be able to handle them better than the batteries. The original generator was designed for use inside air compressors, so it’s a tough little thing. The uses for this generator are pretty much endless, and it’s not hard to see other applications for larger versions handing more power.
For pacemakers the heartbeat would be sufficient to keep the generator operational, making the pacemaker self powering, and considerably safer for patients than batteries. Much less heartstrain for their families, too, I'd think.
The generator is the result of an EU project with the glorious name of Vibration Energy Scavenging (Vibes) project.
God, they’re expressive, these Euro-etymologists. I have a vision of some old bloke in a gabardine mac roaming the streets looking for vibes…
So much for four or five thousand years of philosophy and religion on the subject of the vibratory energies of the universe. Never mind the perpetual motion debate, Newton, or any other attempt to involve any prior use of human intelligence.
We can be sure that whoever named that project definitely wasn't a musician. Whoever tacked vibes onto the end of it probably was. We've known for millennia what vibes can do.
Now, about this bass-powered spacecraft...
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