The shaking of aspen leaves has inspired an energy harvester that could power weather sensors and Mars rovers.
Developed by a team from Warwick University, the mechanism was inspired by the quaking of aspen leaves, which will quiver in the slightest breeze. The team discovered that the leaves’ “large amplitude quiver” is primarily due to the stem’s flat shape, as well as leaf’s shape.
Using mathematical modeling, the team designed the energy harvester to mimic this structure, resulting in a device able to produce self-sustained oscillations, even at low wind speeds. Because the device does not have bearings, it can operate in areas with extreme heat, cold or dust—making it ideal for remote and rugged terrain, such as Mars.
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