Via the TNR E&E blog comes this story of capturing some of the energy wasted when a vehicle moves over bumps and potholes on the road. Indian drivers are waiting with bated breath for this prototype to become a reality! The takeaway messages are that most of the mechanical devices we use today have many points where waste energy can be captured and put to use.
A team of MIT undergraduate students has invented a shock absorber that harnesses energy from small bumps in the road, generating electricity while it smoothes the ride more effectively than conventional shocks. The students hope to initially find customers among companies that operate large fleets of heavy vehicles. They have already drawn interest from the U.S. military and several truck manufacturers.