These reconfigurable energy harvesting, storage, and circuit modules can be integrated into a customizable power solution for consumer electronics and cell phones. The U.S. consumer electronics industry reached an all-time high of $211 billion in 2014, and the cell phone industry will reach $341 billion in 2015. In this ever-increasing technology-dependent world, the need for efficient, sustainable mobile power will only continue to grow. Current electrochemical batteries can sufficiently support electronic devices, but they require recharging or replacement. Alternatively, energy harvesting is an attractive prospect for powering consumer electronics, but the availability of ambient energy may not match the demands of the electronics. The optimal combination of batteries and energy harvesters is very specific to the user’s habits. University of Florida researchers have developed reconfigurable energy modules that, when combined, result in a scalable and customizable power system for varying power demands. The modular system of energy harvesting, storage, and circuit modules can be configured and re-configured by the user to achieve the desired size and performance.
Customizable and reconfigurable power sources that efficiently cater to varying power demands
The reconfigurable energy modules are comprised of three components: energy harvesting, storage, and circuits. The energy harvesting module serves to collect energy from its environment, such as solar, vibrational, thermal, or other ambient environment sources, to power consumer electronics. Then, the storage and circuit modules provide an electrical energy system by storing the energy and monitoring how it is distributed. Depending on how the modules are put together, users can achieve different outcomes to suit their individual needs. The modules snap together and can be disconnected, rearranged, and reconfigured into different shapes and forms, in addition to allowing for modules to be swapped or replaced without shutting down the battery’s operation.