Brother’s Vibration Energy Cell batteries to shake up power generation for low power devices
By Darren Quick
July 22, 2010
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.