How often do you change the batteries in your television remote control? Yeah, basically never. But that’s a tribute to how efficient the device is and not a reason to overlook this development. NEC is showing off a remote control that uses no batteries. Power is generated using the piezo effect that occurs when a button is pushed. That is to say, when a crystal is compressed it emits a tiny bit of electricity which is harnessed and used to power this device. This is the same principle that is used in the electricity producing sidewalks tested in Japan.
It’s pretty phenomenal that they can run the device using this method. Right now there’s only a handful of buttons but we’re sure there’ll be advances in the technology. There’s a ton of use for this if it can be miniaturized. It is using radio frequency instead of infrared, making it a useful development in wireless doorbells, garage door openers, key-less entry fobs for your car, and many more applications.
With concerns about the environment at an all-time high, do we roll up our sleeves and fix the situation or set our fears aside and dance the night away? [Andrew Charalambous], a nightclub owner in from Britain, doesn’t think we should have to choose, so he installed a dance floor that harnesses power from dancers into one of his clubs.
The dance floor uses piezoelectrics to collect the power: as clubgoers dance, electricity-producing crystals under the floor are compressed, producing a small current. The current is collect by embedded batteries, which in turn provide the power to lights, audio systems, and other parts of the club that consume electricity.
It’s certainly an interesting idea, but we’d like to know just how much power these floors are able to generate. Is this a gimmick or a genuinely practical solution? [Charalambous]’s club has adopted the somewhat hokey policy of forcing patrons to sign a pledge to be climate-conscious and do what they can to help the Earth, but that’s a small price to pay to earn green karma and have fun at the same time.