We've seen a number of different devices that can harvest energy from various sources, but none quite like this new chip developed by a team of MIT researchers. It's able to harvest energy from three different sources simultaneously: light, heat and vibrations. The key to that is a sophisticated control system that's able to rapidly switch between the three sources at all times to prevent any of that energy from going to waste (and not draw too much power itself), with energy from the secondary sources stored in capacitors to be picked up later -- as opposed to existing systems that simply switch between sources based on what's most plentiful. As doctoral student Saurav Bandyopadhyay explains, efficiently managing those disparate sources could be a "big advantage since many of these sources are intermittent and unpredictable," and it could in turn lead to the chip being used in a range of different applications where batteries or existing energy harvesting methods just aren't enough: everything from environmental sensors in remote locations to biomedical devices.
MIT researchers develop chip that can harvest energy from multiple sources
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