Inertial Energy Harvesting

Wrist-worn energy harvester with plucked PZT beams used to harvest energy from walking motions on the arm.

ASSIST is developing devices that harvest energy from human motion.  The approach has required a number of advances, including the fabrication of bimorph lead zirconatetitanate (PZT) thin films with a high figure-of-merit (FoM), development of a technique to produce thick PZT layers on nickel foils, and optimization of the mechanical system.

An energy harvesting system that captures power from body motions can help power a variety of body-worn sensors.  We are currently pursuing wrist-worn harvesters to extend the battery life of ASSIST’s on-wrist health and environmental tracking systems.

The primary system we have developed harvests energy from swinging motions, such as that generated by the arm of a person walking.  The system utilizes an arrangement of piezoelectric beams that are “plucked” by posts on an eccentric rotating mass.  This strains the beams, generating a current.

Learn more about the researchers involved with this project: