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Brother’s Vibration Energy Cell batteries to shake up power generation for low power devices

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July 22, 2010

Brother's AA-size Vibration Energy Cell battery prototype whose generator and rechargeable...

Brother's AA-size Vibration Energy Cell battery prototype whose generator and rechargeable battery are installed in two different cases (Image: Tech-On)

A number of kinetic energy chargers have been hitting the market in recent years including the nPower PEG. Researchers have also been working to improve the technology, developing such devices as the Kinetic Energy Cell and a tiny generator that derives electrical energy from the vibrations and movements that occur within its environment. Now Brother Industries Ltd., a company better known for its printers, has put the technology into a form factor that should prove much more versatile – a battery. Its Vibration Energy Cell batteries are deigned to replace AA or AAA batteries in some low power devices that can then be powered with a shake.

Like most kinetic energy chargers, the Vibration Energy Cell batteries rely on Faraday’s Principle of Electromagnetic Induction to generate electricity. Brother managed to cram an electromagnetic induction generator comprised of a coil, a magnet and a condenser inside the battery casings. Shaking the device sends the magnet sliding back and forth through the coil, inducing an alternating current each time the magnet slides through.

The average output of the AA-size generator is apparently 10 to 180mW (frequency: 4-8Hz) with two of the AA-sized prototypes the company has developed capable of producing a voltage of 3.2V or lower. This low output limits the use of the device, but a Brother spokesman told BBC News that, “this type of cell is designed to be used for things such as TV remote controls and LED devices, which consume low power and do not consume electrical power continuously."

Brother unveiled its Vibration Energy Cell battery technology at the Techno-frontier 2010 exhibition in Tokyo this week where it demonstrated the prototype batteries powering a TV remote control, a remote for lighting equipment and an LED flashlight.

Sources: BBC News and Tech-On

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
4 Comments

Wonderful Invention.

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India

Anumakonda Jagadeesh
23rd July, 2010 @ 01:45 am PDT

The future of batteries is here!

UCR live

Huw Sharpe
25th August, 2010 @ 01:12 pm PDT

Up, up, up !

I want a dozen of them.

Ariel Dahan
16th September, 2010 @ 08:47 am PDT

You might be able to get this to work with a TV remote, but that's about it. I've seen LED flashlights that use a similar mechanism, and they need to be shaken almost constantly in order to be bright enough to be useful. I do not see this replacing existing battery technologies anytime soon.

Matt Lemoine
8th October, 2010 @ 08:26 pm PDT
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