Micro-Windmill Invention Could Charge Cell Phone Batteries, Even Homes

Could micro-windmills be the wave of the future?  One university thinks so.

The University of Texas at Arlington announced Friday that researchers at the school have designed a mini-windmill to generate home energy and cell phone batteries.  The research associate Smitha Rao, along with engineering professor J.-C. Chiao, said that the micro-windmills could be a solution to cell phone batteries that need to be recharged.

The device is about 1.8mm at its widest point--a size so small that 10 of the windmills could fit into one grain of rice.  Wind created by waving the cell phone in the air, or holding it up on a windy day, would generate electricity for the battery.

In a statement, Chiao said, “Imagine that they can be cheaply made on the surfaces of portable electronics,“so you can place them on a sleeve for your smart phone. When the phone is out of battery power, all you need to do is to put on the sleeve, wave the phone in the air for a few minutes and you can use the phone again.”  Chiao added that they could possible be used for home energy by mounting the device on the walls of a house.

The invention has garnered the interest of the Taiwanese company WinMEMS Technologies Co., which wants to explore commercial opportunities for the windmill.

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