Researchers at Purdue University have created a pressure sensitive microelectromechanical system (MEMS) that turns sound waves into energy. The device, first thought to be utilized for recharging hearing-aids, may have some other interesting applications as well.
The prototype features a vibrating cantilever, which translates deep bass soundwaves in the 200 – 500Hz frequency spectrum into electrical energy that is then “stored” in a specialized capacitor. In Purdue’s test, acoustic waves from rap music were found to effectively recharge the pressure sensor. Such a device might ultimately help to treat people stricken with aneurisms or incontinence due to paralysis.
When the frequency falls outside of the proper range, the cantilever stops vibrating, automatically sending the electrical charge to the sensor, which takes a pressure reading and transmits data as radio signals. Because the frequency is continually changing according to the rhythm of a musical composition, the sensor can be induced to repeatedly alternate intervals of storing charge and transmitting data.