How energy harvesting tech could power wearables and the internet of things


It’s all very well talking about the evolution of wearable computing and the internet of things, but something has to power these thin and/or tiny devices. For that reason, it’s a good thing that so many ideas are popping up in the field of energy harvesting and storage.

Some of these ideas were on display this week at the Printed Electronics Europe 2013 event in Berlin, which took in a variety of sub-events including the Energy Harvesting & Storage Europe show. The concepts ranged from the practical to the experimental, so let’s start with the practical.

Here’s Perpetuum‘s Vibration Energy Harvester (VEH), being carried around (appropriately) on a model train.

Perpetuum train sensor

The VEH is a wireless sensor that gets attached to rotating components, such as wheel bearings, on trains. Cleverly, the device both measures and is powered by mechanical vibration. It also measures temperature, and it wirelessly transmits the results…

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