MIT develops a wireless sensor that is powered via your ear


mit ear powered chip 1
The wild, woolly world of Wi-Fi has, of course, achieved amazing things in the last several years. With wearable technology, wireless detection tends to follow. Still, the number problem when this tech is embedded in clothing, is how to power it. Batteries are slowly complying by becoming smaller and more malleable but we still have a long way to go on that front. What if, then, we could power these devices with nothing more than our own bodies? What if, then, we could power it with the sound that carries through our ear canal?

What if? That’d be awesome! Things are looking good on that front as some mad geniuses over at MIT have been preparing just that technology. Researchers at the college are trying to harness that energy through a new sensor that exploits the whole ear canal system. The vibrations entering the ear canal can, the group has proven, be used to power a very small wireless detection device. It’s enough to power, say, a device that diagnoses balance or hearing problems. Don’t go getting your hopes up for your ear canal powering your iPad or home entertainment unit any time soon. Well, maybe if you live in a really noisy area. New Yorkers rejoice.

Anyways, the system is unique also because it offers a very rare glimpse into self-sustained energy. Once it is started, sound waves keep it powered and, in theory, it’ll never lose power again. There is, after all, a whole lot of sound in this world. Maybe now nails screeching on a chalkboard won’t be so bad. At least it’ll give us a quick charge.