University of Washington researchers were inspired by Swiss engineer Jean Leon Reutter’s Atoms mechanical clock to create a power harvester that uses temperature fluctuations and pressure changes as a power source.
The device can be placed in locations where changes in temperature and pressure naturally occur to power sensors that can transmit data via a wireless signal. The device is made using a metal bellow that expands or contracts based on the ambient temperature. Researchers tested the device with a temperature change of 0.25 degrees Celsius and found that that slight temperature change produced enough energy to power the sensor to transmit data wireless to a receiver 5 meters away. This technology could be used to detect water leaks in building or on the inside of a bridge to monitor for structural damage.