It's all well and good that our homes and cities are getting 'smarter,' but why aren't our energy sources getting smarter to power these smart cities?
That's the motivation behind Ya Yang, Zhong Lin Wang and colleagues' concept for a technology that combines silicon solar cells and a nanogenerator to convert solar power and wind power into an electrical output.
The solar cell component of the system delivers 8 milliWatts of power output (1 milliWatt can light up 100 small LEDs). The wind harvesting component delivers up to 26 milliWatts. Together, under simulated sun and wind conditions, four devices on the roof of a model home could turn on the LEDs inside and power a temperature-humidity sensor. Installed in large numbers on real rooftops, the hybrid device could help enable smart cities.