Ambient Energy Harvesting Device with Charge-Carrying Movable Electrode

Case ID: 01120


Ambient Energy Harvesting Device with Charge-Carrying Movable Electrode


Case ID:




Advances in low-power electronics and distributed systems have generated interest in small-scale power supply systems that harness energy from ambient sources. Low-power and distributed systems have also added to the portability of electronic devices, lessened dependency on wiring, and emphasized the search for reliable in-situ power generation. Harvesting useful power from ambient energy sources has shown great potential for powering wireless electronics in a wide range of applications, but current methods suffer from inefficiencies that often stem from low rates of energy extraction and circuitry complexity.


Invention Description

Researchers at the University of Hawaii have developed a system capable of effectively and efficiently extracting useful power from low-level ambient sources. This is achieved with (1) a charge-carrying moveable electrode, (2) a reference electrode, and (3) multiple dielectric regions. These dielectric regions differ in capacitance and therefore also surface charge density. Low-power ambient energy (such as vibrational) causes the moveable electrode to oscillate between the dielectric regions, resulting in effective and efficient energy accumulation.


Potential Applications

• Self-Powered Sensors

• Biomedical Implants

• Internet of Things

• Remote Monitoring

• Portable Electronics


Benefits and Advantages

• Practical – System efficiently and effectively extracts useful power from low-level ambient energy

• Innovative – Harvesting “free” unused energy enables advancement of new technologies previously considered impractical

• Versatile – Simple and elegant design allows for integration in a wide range of electronic devices

• Environmentally Friendly – System removes the need to involve harmful/hazardous chemicals currently used to power many devices


Intellectual Property Status

Patents Pending



Development partner

Commercial partner


University spin out



Key Words

ambient energy harvesting

electronic devices


Patent Information:
Tianwei (david) Ma
Enze Ma
Jian (Jimmy) Yu

For information, contact:
Rafael Gacel-Sinclair
Technology Licensing Associate
University of Hawaii

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