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July 7th, 2010
Whether it's a bar code label or an RFID tag, the extreme temperature fluctuations, vibration, acceleration/deceleration, abrasion and overall rough handling containers can suffer in transit usually results in only one thing: damage to the label or tag. But in the future, rough handling might actually prove to be an asset to data collection technologies.
A new generation of nanotechnology designed for energy harvesting could turn all of these negative environmental factors into electricity to power sensors, data loggers, and boost the range of battery assisted passive tags.
There is considerable research under way in the nanomaterials community to find ways to develop energy harvesters using acoustic, vibrational, heat and mechanical energy. And just as thin film batteries have enabled the development of smaller yet more capable RFID tags, nanogenerators could usher in a generation of "perpetually recharged" devices.
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