Wireless technology has allowed scientists and researchers to pepper internet-enabled sensors far beyond the range
of the wired grid, but the issue of powering these devices still remains. University of Texas electrical engineer Dr.
Shashank Priya thinks he has the solution to this problem, in the form of miniature windmills (not pictured) that can
provide adequate power from breezes as faint as 10 MPH. Priya's 4-inch diameter 'mills differ from their larger
counterparts in that they employ piezoelectric crystals which generate a current when flexed by a rotating cam. Were he
to have used the conventional generators found in regular windmills, his minimills would only achieve one percent
efficiency, as opposed to the 18 percent they can reach using the piezoelectric materials. Up next for Priya is
perfecting the even-smaller windmills that he has patented, which should be able to capture even lighter breezes, and
may also be suitable for mounting on a top hat.
[Via The Raw Feed]