Hawaii sees a lot of sun, and plenty of homes on the islands have roof-mounted solar panels to collect that energy. Now, according to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, the Maui-based Ambient Micro LLC is working with the Air Force to build electronic devices that recharge by capturing ambient energy. Ambient energy is the stuff that radiates from communication towers and hot sidewalks, among hundreds of other sources.

Ambient Micro’s plan is to “develop a tiny device that harvests not only photons (visible light and invisible electromagnetic radiation), but also converts sound waves, vibrations and hot-cold temperature differences into power.”

Even though they are starting small, the company is also developing power sources for unmanned aerial drones. There is more than a hint in the article that tapping this free energy source will lead to truly creepy invasive spy machines, particularly little robotic spy flies that are, well, fly-sized. The technology also promises to have helpful benefits as well. While the article makes clear it is nowhere near practical to run electric cars on ambient radiation at this time, devices that tap ambient energy are another step forward in alternative energy.

Image credit: R. Fearing of UC-Berkeley.
[Source: Honolulu Star-Bulletin]

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