Pulling Power from the Air Just. Got. Real.

We, as the crystal-petters will gladly tell you, are surrounded by energy.  I’m not talking about any kind of spiritual “soul” energy, here – but electromagnetic energy bouncing between cell phones, radio towers, GPS systems, wi-fi hotspots, and more.  Great gobs of electrical potential just “hanging out”, wasted … but no more.

A group of researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have created a sort of  “wireless paper” antenna which is capable of “scavenging” usable energy from those transmitted frequencies.  Said power is converted into AC or DC electricity, which can then be stored in more conventional batteries and capacitors.  So far, the team’s various antenna designs have been able to generate hundreds of milliwatts by “mining” energy from TV broadcast bands.  A future, multi-band system is is expected to generate significantly more, and be enough to operate small electronics.

Granted, this is not the sort of train-driving “awesome power of lightning” power dreamed of by Ayn Rand and a generation of “free-energy” nuts who can’t tell the difference between Genius!Tesla and IateALLThePeyote!Tesla, of course, but the Georgia Tech – er, tech (sorry) has the distinct advantage of being – you know – actually real … and real beats fiction every time (except for when my Pontiac didn’t turn into a smack-talking hip-hop robot, which was lame).

Source: Gizmag | Image: Gary Meek

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.