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It appears that Fujitsu Labs has a new major breakthrough in technology.  They have combined two ambiant energy generating devices into a single one, that can still be produced cheaply.  This technology will allow for independent powered devices, with out the need of batteries or a regular source of electricity.

Fujitsu Lab’s has designed and built the first dual source energy harvesting technology.  Energy Harvesting is the term used to caputre ambiant energy that is available from sources like; Heat, Light, Vibration.  A photoelectrical cell is an example of a light capture device.  A thermoelectrical device is something can generates electricity from the diffence in heat.

Fujitsu Develops Hybrid Energy Harvesting Device for Generating Electricity
from Heat and Light

Paves the way toward
widespread energy harvesting, generating self-sufficient power from the
surrounding environment

Kawasaki, Japan, December 9, 2010 — Fujitsu Laboratories
Ltd. today announced that it has developed a new hybrid energy harvesting device
that generates electricity from either heat or light. With this single device,
it is possible to derive energy from two separate sources, which previously
could only be handled by combining individual devices. Furthermore, because the
cost of the hybrid device is economical, this technology paves the way to the
widespread use of highly efficient energy harvesting devices. The new technology
has great potential in the area of energy harvesting, which converts energy from
the surrounding environment to electricity. Since there is no need for
electrical wiring or battery replacements, this development could enable the use
of sensors in previously unserved applications and regions. It also has great
potential for powering a variety of sensor networks and medical-sensing
technologies.

Link

This device will pave the way for small electricronic devices that are self powered and self monitoring.  The ramificantion for this technology as it is developed is significant.  In military terms, the ability to set up small networks of monitors that are self powered for years, is off the chart in interesting.

It wont take long for these to be disguised as gravel with the ability to get accurate traffic flow counts, for example.  The technology is supposed to be commericalized in the next 4 years.  Its long term impacts will be felt by 2020 in places like self powered watches, radios, LED lighting, bridge monitoring, road construction, wind turbines, oil well heads, pipelines and or pretty much any place we need the ability to monitor what is happening with out providing a dedicated electrical outlet.

H/T: WattsUpWithThat