NTX Magazine Volume 3 - Page 36

Spotlight on North Texas UT Arlington Micro-windmills MicroPower The solution to the dying cellphone battery may be blowing in the wind. A UT Arlington research associate and electrical engineering professor have designed an innovative solution to charging cellphone batteries using a micro-windmill that generates wind energy. Using origami concepts, Smitha Rao and J.C. Chiao designed and built the device that is about 1.8 millimeters at its widest point – so small that a single grain of rice could hold about 10 of these miniscule windmills. Hundreds of these windmills could be embedded in a cellphone sleeve, generating electricity to power the device by simply holding it up to an open window or waving it in the air. The applications for these tiny windmills don’t stop at cellphones. The designers envision them making their way to flat panels mounted on the walls of homes to harvest energy for lighting and security along with many other applications. 34