There are plenty of obstacles when it comes to battery-powered technology – first and foremost, the waste associated with improper battery disposal – but a new Massachusetts Institute of Technology invention could make battery-powered devices a thing of the past.
The battery-free chip, developed by MIT professor Anantha Chandrakasan and his team, harvests energy from an array of sources, including sunlight, environmental vibrations and heat. That means the device can derive energy from a multitude of sources all at once. If one source is unavailable, the others take its place, giving the device a near-constant source of power.
Unlike traditional batteries, the chip uses dual-path architecture, which surpasses a storage device like a battery and powers the device directly. That makes it more efficient, Chandrakasan tells MIT News.
In years past, similar devices that used power from multiple sources switched among them, giving the advantage to whichever energy source is delivering the most energy at that time, doctoral student Saurav Bandyopadhyay tells MIT News. That can waste the energy being delivered by other sources. The new chip switches rapidly between sources, extracting energy from all sources evenly.
Not only is it more efficient, but more environmentally-friendly. The new technology could find its way to everything from biomedical devices to cameras, cutting back on the use and improper disposal of batteries. How the technology will be used will certainly be seen in upcoming years as it becomes more widely available.