Vibration Energy Harvesting and Its Application for Nano- and Microrobotics

  • Junjun Ding
  • Vinod R. Challa
  • M. G. Prasad
  • Frank T. FisherEmail author


In this chapter, the concept of vibration energy harvesting and its potential utilization as a power source for micro/nanorobots is introduced and discussed. While batteries are commonly used as power sources for electronic devices, the limited lifetime and relatively large dimensional structure of batteries constrain its applications in micro/nanodevices. On the other hand, while capacitors have an extremely compact structure, the power stored is generally considered too low to power micro/nanorobots for a sufficiently long period of time. Hence, energy harvesting approaches, either alone or in conjunction with more traditional power sources, are being investigated to provide sufficient power for micro/nanorobots over the design lifetime of the system. In general, several varieties of energy harvesting techniques and devices have been developed to transfer different energy sources that may be present in a particular environment into electrical power; for example, solar, thermal, mechanical vibration, and even wind energy can be used as the source for energy harvesting devices in appropriate applications. However, specifically considering micro/nanodevices for biomedical applications greatly restricts the potential energy sources that can be harvested for system power. In this case, mechanical (vibration) energy may serve as a useful environmental source for energy harvesting. The purpose of this chapter is to first introduce the reader to the general field of energy harvesting, after which the discussion will focus on mechanical vibration energy harvesting and other techniques with potentially greater application to biomedical nano/microrobotics. In particular, different vibration energy harvesting mechanisms, such as electromagnetic, electrostatic, and piezoelectric techniques, will then be presented. The chapter concludes with recent work being done in the field of nanotechnology to further extend these energy harvesting approaches to size scales compatible with nano/micro devices and systems.


Electrical Energy Piezoelectric Material Seebeck Coefficient Energy Harvesting Vibration Energy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work was supported in part by the National Science Foundation (Award No. CMMI-0846937). The authors would also like to thank Professor David Cappelleri at Stevens for his contribution to this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Junjun Ding
    • 1
  • Vinod R. Challa
    • 1
  • M. G. Prasad
    • 1
  • Frank T. Fisher
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringStevens Institute of TechnologyHobokenUSA

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