New Sensor Developed That is Powered by Temperature Changes
There are some places where power is not available, but where we need to place an energy-using device. In some cases the device can use solar power or even harvest energy from radio waves, but neither is possible in some locations, like inside structures. Researchers at the University of Washington however, have developed a new device that could operate in these places, by converting temperature changes to electricity.
The idea the researchers are using was developed centuries ago to power a clock and exploits pressure changes due to pressure. When gases are heated, they will expand and exert a force that can be converted into electricity. In version of the technology, the temperature sensitive gas is contained in a metal bellows, which expands and contracts with temperature changes around it. Small cantilevers capture this motion to generate enough electricity to power sensors and a wireless transmitter. Just a 0.25 ºC change is enough to send a signal five meters to a receiver.
The researchers see this device being used to monitor buildings for water leaks and weaknesses inside of walls. Changes in temperature from the building's air conditioning or from the course of the day, would be sufficient to power the sensor.
Source: University of Washington