It’s a dismal fact that most gadgets run on batteries with short lives. Wouldn’t it be great if we could power ours using something other than batteries and conventional power lines? Well, Jeff Feddersen has created a circuit board that produces enough power to light LEDs of a skateboard’s undercarriage using nothing more than kinetic energy.
Feddersen came up with the idea as a midterm assignment for his sustainable energy class. His original assignment was to make an object that would be powered by an alternative energy source be it tidal, solar or kinetic. The circuit board derives kinetic energy produced by the skateboard’s wheels which in turn lights the LEDs. According to Feddersen, the wheels spin a motor which produces an output of 7 volts depending on the speed. With this invention, the board has the ability to charge anything that needs electricity at no additional cost.
Feddersen stumbled across the concept for the kinetic-powered skateboard after coming across a similar project by Bernard Kiwia. Kiwia’s work focused on allowing people in developing countries to use kinetic energy created by their bicycles to charge their cellphones.
Feddersen said the wiring and materials needed for the project were relatively simple. He used a stepper motor to create kinetic energy along with eight diodes for the rectifier circuit. Plenty of capacitors and a minty boost later, the produced energy was stored and used to test charge his iPhone.
However, Feddersen ran into some trouble after realizing that his iPhone sapped all the power from the capacitors. He chose a different route and instead of charging his cellphone, attached 50 LEDs to the undercarriage. The project was a success which leads us to wonder if there will ever come a time when we will be able to generate our own power to charge phones and other gadgetry.