Students from Cornell University (you know this has to be good if it’s from those Big Red Bears) have figured out how to generate electricity from the vibration of wind passing next to lightweight pads. So we have all see Wind-Turbines and understand how they work. The blades cut through the wind and spin around generating electricity that can be stored and kept for a while. Vibro-wind is nothing like that. Even the slightest breeze will cause the pads to vibrate and by using a piezoelectric (or lots of smaller ones) transducer which is made out of ceramic/polymer and it emits electrons when stressed. Here is a video that shows exactly how it works for the most part. They will not tell you the secret goopy stuff they put on one side of the ceramic plate, but it will give you enough idea to start trying your own.
You can see one in action in this video. Its pretty amazing how this works. I am interested in seeing how this ends up in the next few years. I think this is going to be the cheapest alternative to living off the grid. With this, I believe that most everyone will be able to micro-generate their own electricity. Plus, on top of everything else, this is perfect for a cabin in the middle of nowhere.
Some of the ultra conservatives out there believe that wind-generation leads to major problems with birds, bats, and other sensitive habitats. Most of the people who live near these huge wind-turbines have complained about the noise that is attributed to the huge towers and also vibrations. It almost feels like an earthquake at times. Francis Moon of Cornell University (Professor of Mechanical Engineering) has created a panel of 25 lightweight pads that oscillate at the slightest breeze. The pads are then attached to piezoelectric material that will produce electricity from the vibrations off the pads. Professor Moon has been working tirelessly working with a team of undergraduates to create a working prototype called “Vibro-Wind.” You see examples of these in the videos and pictures.