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Tiny Generator Aims For Mighty Power

Georgia Institute of Technology reports that it has developed a microgenerator that can produce enough power to run a small electronic device, such as a cell phone, and believes it may soon be able to run a laptop computer. The microgenerator is about the size of dime. Used in concert with a similarly sized, gas-fueled microturbine, or jet, engine, the system -- called a microengine -- has the potential to last 10 times longer than a conventional battery, says Georgia Tech, Atlanta. "We can now get macroscale power from a microscale device," says doctoral candidate David Arnold, a co-developer of the microgenerator. The device produces electricity by spinning a small magnet above a mesh of coils fabricated on a chip. The researchers say the ability of Georgia Tech's generator to produce ample wattage to power an electronic device is an important step in microengines being incorporated into products and possibly replacing conventional batteries in some instances. Massachusetts Institute of Technology collaborated on the research.

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