19 Apr '17, 4pm

Good Vibrations? California to Test Using Road Rumbles as a Power Source

Good Vibrations? California to Test Using Road Rumbles as a Power Source

Most energy harvesting schemes are on a human scale, like using your swinging arms to power a wristwatch or your dancing legs to power a nightclub’s sound-and-light show . Why not go big by harvesting the road vibrations caused by cars and trucks? That’s the idea behind California’s newly funded experiment to turn road rumble into watts. It would rely on piezoelectric crystals, which produce a bit of current when you squeeze them. Such crystals are often used in audio equipment to turn sounds into signals or vice-versa, but if you put enough of them together, they could run streetlights, sensors, and other useful highway equipment. A total of US $2.3 million will be invested in two projects. First up, a 60-meter (200 foot) stretch of roadway near the campus of the University of California, Merced, north of Fresno, will salt the pavement with 2-centimeter-wide piezoelectric...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/cars-that-think/transportation/i...

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