If you’ve ever put a blade of grass between your thumbs and blown, you’re already aware of the force that drives Shawn Frayne’s ingenious Windbelt. A small amount of air passing over a thin strip of material can create frequencies that translate into sound waves or, in the Windbelt’s case, energy.
Frayne’s device consists of a flat, taut membrane that flutters within its housing as air passes through it. At each end of the membrane are magnets that oscillate between metal coils as the band flutters, effectively creating an electric charge. According to the 28-year-old Frayne, prototypes of the Windbelt have generated 40 milliwatts in 10-mph slivers of wind, making his device 10 to 30 times as efficient as the best microturbines....MORE