How Motion-powered Electronics Work

Putting Motion Power to Work

Night vision goggles are just one piece of military gadgetry that could benefit from motion-charged batteries.
Night vision goggles are just one piece of military gadgetry that could benefit from motion-charged batteries.
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Emerging motion-powered electronics technology has numerous applications, the most obvious being the creation of battery packs that keep your personal gadgetry going when you're on the move. Think of anytime you've ever held an item in your hand with a dead battery in it, and you likely have a candidate in mind. Here are a few additional applications for the technology:

Military use: Take a good look at the modern Special Forces soldier and just imagine how much battery power it takes to keep all the soldier's gear running. Does the modern army travel on its stomach, or on an endless string of AC adapters? According to M2E Power, the U.S. Army alone depends on 500 mobile battery-dependent devises, requiring soldiers to schlep up to 20 pounds (9 kilograms) of batteries [source: M2E]. For this reason, the U.S. military is very interested in modern motion power technology for its use in night vision goggles, various communication devises and small, portable generators.

Vehicle use: If you've ever enjoyed a bumpy ride in a vehicle, then you know there's definitely some kinetic energy available for the taking. In an equipped vehicle, on-board motion-powered electronics would be able to power themselves independent of the car battery and engine. Designers hope to use the technology to augment existing hybrid vehicle designs by allowing the vehicles to turn kinetic energy back into electrical energy in the battery. As such, motion-powered electronics could lower the outside energy demands for the vehicle.

Wind, wave and waterpower: Motion-powered electronics could also help in the improvement of traditional wind and water turbines, as well as using the natural movements of the tide to jostle electric generators in the same way a morning run would.

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Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • LaMonia, Martin. "Motion-powered phone charger sashays in." CNET News. Aug. 24, 2008. (June 12, 2009)
  • LaMonica, Martin. "Start-up makes electric power from motion." CNET News. Nov. 16, 2007. (June 12, 2009);txt
  • M2E Power. (June 12, 2009)
  • "Motion Powered Cell Phone Chargers." June 24, 2008. (June 12, 2009)