You might have seen those shake and charge flashlights on sale.  They’ve come a long way since the first ones only a few short years ago.  Now the impressive Japanese Firm Brother Industries has developed small vibration-powered generators that can replace the little AA and AAA batteries.  This is good.

Brother's Battery Sized Generator and Capacitor. Click image for more info.

Called a “Vibration-powered Generating Battery,” put inside a remote or other low power device, the ‘battery’ charges up with some shaking.

Brother Industries said, as quoted by Hideyoshi Kume at the  Nikkei Electronics site, “The new generator will semipermanently eliminate the need to replace batteries and contribute to reducing the amount of wastes.”  Semipermanently?  These things must wear out someday.

Brother Industries has ensured the versatility of the generator/capacitor/battery by employing the shapes of commonly used batteries.  At the rated volts and amps the little generator can directly replace conventional batteries.

More accurately, the generator can be used for devices that do not continuously consume electricity and have power consumption of about 100mW, the company said. For example, the power consumption of a normal remote is 40 to 100mW.  There’s a go for you.  There’s several dollars worth of AA and AAA sitting here in the living room right now.

Brother Industries has prototyped the generator in the AA and AAA battery sizes. Inside the battery-shaped case, there is an electromagnetic induction generator charging an electric double layer capacitor with a capacitance of about 500mF. The average output of the AA-size generator is 10 to 180mW at the frequency range of 4-8Hz.  Maybe not TASER class density, but enough for a lot of things of which there are a lot in every household.

The Japanese were able to see the new generator at the Techno-Frontier 2010, an exhibition that ran from July 21 to 23, 2010, in Tokyo.  On display was a TV remote control, a remote for lighting equipment and an LED flashlight using the generator.

Is this a big deal?  Not on the personal level, but widespread adoption would have a noteworthy impact.  It also goes to show the Japanese skill at making thing ever smaller and compact with ever increasing quality.

This writer has had pretty fair luck with Brother products and will continue the consideration.  Now if they’d just fix the coyote howl when my printer starts up . . .


Name (required)

Email (required)


Speak your mind