Human movement energy harvesting : a non-linear electromagnetic approach

Yew, Chun Keat

January 2015

Thesis or dissertation

© 2015 Chun Keat Yew. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

Energy harvesting is one of the methods that currently engage actively in energy “recycling”. Of the many energy sources that carry the potential to have energy harvested and recycled, humans are seen as a potential source of energy. High amounts of energy are wasted from daily activities that humans do, if only a portion of the wasted energy can be harvested and reused with the aim of improving the quality of life of the user.

To do that, the accelerations of selected movements are recorded from sensors attached to four different locations of the body. Human movements operate on a low and wide frequency scale, nonlinear energy harvesting techniques is seen as a suitable technique to be applied. Nonlinear energy harvesting techniques are expected to increase the bandwidth of operation of the energy harvester. The electromagnetic method of transduction is also selected (using two opposing magnets) to be paired with the nonlinear energy harvesting techniques to evaluate the potential of energy harvesting from human movements. The pick-up coil to be used will be placed at a novel location within the energy harvester prototype.

Through simulations and experiments, frequency responses obtained did show an increase in bandwidth which agrees with literature from nonlinear energy harvesting techniques. Phase portraits are also used to provide a more in depth understanding on the movements from the cantilever under linear and nonlinear dynamics. Result comparisons were made between the simulation model and the experimental prototype to verify the agreement between the two.

Additionally, results obtained also showed that the resonant frequency of the system was reduced when operating under the nonlinear regime. These attribute favour energy harvesting though human movements.

Finally, the novel placement of the pick-up coil within the nonlinear electromagnetic energy harvester had the desired effect. Similar power outputs were achieved even though the separation distances between the two opposing magnets were varied.

School of Engineering, The University of Hull
Gilbert, J. M. (James Michael)
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