Harvesting energy from earthquakes in action
Wellington, New Zealand

Victoria University of Wellington, Te Whare Wānanga o te Ūpoko o te Ika a Māui, the number one university in New Zealand for research.

Employees: 270

Harvesting energy from earthquakes

Capture energy from a building’s movement

Earthquakes are a powerful force of nature, and the majority of all that released energy unfortunately goes towards leaving destruction in it's path. While you can't do much to stop a quake from happening Daniel Tomicek, an Electronic and Computer Systems Engineering student at Victoria University in New Zealand wants to capture some of the energy generated and use it to help monitor the very quake it originated from.

Harvesting energy from earthquakes

Earthquake sensors today are generally wired up or use batteries for their power and data transmission. The wireless sensor device Daniel developed is meant to be installed in different parts of building so when earthquakes do occur the resulting vibrations can be harvested to activate a wireless transceiver. This transceiver sends a data packet with details on the severity of the quake to an off-site computer to be analyzed.


Each data transmission from the device also contains the individuals unique identifier so that engineers can help assess the damage to specific parts of the building. When not in use the device uses only a minimal amount of energy so it can remain battery free.

Daniel and Professor's Winston Seah and Dr Ramesh Rayudu from the Faculty of Engineering school have been working to develop an affordable prototype of the project and the current iteration has been going through some testing rounds at the Museum of New Zealand's Earthquake House exhibit.

More details about the project and it's origins can be found on Victoria Universities website.

A look at an earthquake energy harvesting sensor device

Additional Coverage: Treehugger, Phys.org, Gizmodo, Victoria U Press Release
Image Credits: Daniel Tomicek/Victoria University, Flickr CC user
Dave Schumaker & brownpau

Via: @IdeaLog

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