Harvesting Wind Energy for Microid Microrobots

J. Clark, F. Li, S. Naidu, R. Sahu, and J.V. Clark
Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA

In this paper we numerically investigate the feasibility of microids to harvest energy from the wind using the piezoelectric effect to recharge its energy supply. Microids are a particular subset of microrobots that have insect-like dexterity. In order for microids to function autonomously long-term outdoors, it is advantageous for them to be able to extract renewable energy from the environment. Previous efforts of others have demonstrated that the piezoelectric phenomenon can be used to extract electrical energy from wind or other fluid-like environments. However, the particular design construction of microids presents a special case where it appears to be most efficient to exploit its piezoelectric appendages for both locomotion and energy harvesting. In this study, we examine various geometric modifications toward maximizing the rate of power extraction from the wind.