UT Arlington researchers have developed wind turbines that are half the size of an ant. These micro-windmills are made from a small fragment of metal that is mounted on a rectangular base, and has three blades.
One of the design challenges the team faced was how to make the tiny blades spin. Using a pinwheel as inspiration, the team collaborated with an electro-mechanical fabrication company to develop a layering process to help the blades turn and appear smooth. The idea behind these micro-windmills was to develop a way to harvest wind energy and in turn produce small energy surges to power compact devices, specifically mobile phones.