What's the Latest Development?

A New York-based energy start has developed self-recharging batteries by utilizing technology that collects vibrations from the natural environment and converts the energy into electricity. "MicroGen is developing a battery that incorporates four chips with small cantilevers—about 1 centimeter squared—that respond to even the smallest vibrations. When they oscillate back and forth, it causes piezoelectric material at the base to create an electric current that can be harvested and stored in the on-board battery."

What's the Big Idea?

While MicroGen's batteries are still in development, they already stand to offer substantial advantages over current self-recharging batteries. They will last much longer and, once they are produced at scale, the company says each battery will cost about one dollar. Tire pressure sensors, of all things, are the first piece of hardware MicroGen is looking to adapt to their batteries. If they can harness the energy of moving automobile tires to charge batteries which in turn power a tire pressure sensor, they will have a large market on their hands. The government has mandated tire pressure sensors in all new vehicles.