Meet the Tiny Battery You Charge By Shaking

August 26, 2011

We love technology. Technology is what brought us dirty movies on the Internet, kegerators, and online pizza delivery, thus eliminating almost any need whatsoever to leave the house. But they need to get their energy from somewhere, which means huge electric bills. Or maybe just a few minutes of rattling.

Meet the battery from MicroGen Systems. It's powered by being moved. Even just a little bit.

How does it work? It's actually fairly simple. Basically, it's four doors mounted on a microchip. When you move the chip, the doors swing back and forth, extremely fast. They're sensitive to even the smallest movement. This movement generates electricity, and it's stored by the battery.

Unfortunately, the day of powering your iPhone by tossing it in the dryer on low is still decades away; the chips currently only generate about 200 microwatts as of now. But on the other hand, 200 microwatts are perfect for tiny sensors. Like, say, tire pressure sensors, which currently require batteries that need to be changed every three years, and are required by new federal guidelines to save gas.

Even better, these low-power batteries are cheap to make, easy to make (they're essentially microchips), and unlike other similar equipment won't screw up the environment by being made with lead or other nasty metals. So they'll save everybody involved a fortune in the long run. Who says a rattling computer chip is a bad thing?

Photo: Ian Grainger/Flickr/Getty Images