A new type of microscopic wind turbine has been designed by Smitha Rao, a University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) research associate and J.-C. Chiao, an electrical engineering professor.
These micro-wind turbines are so small that 10 of them could fit on a grain of rice; each of the tiny turbines are about 1.8mm at its widest point. Testing of this new technology took place in September 2013, and proved to be successful. The tiny structures are able to withstand a lot of wind force due to the durable nickel alloy material, and the aerodynamic design.
The two designers believe this new technology could be applied to cell phone power production. For instance, they could embed hundreds of these tiny wind turbines in a cell phone sleeve/cover, which could then be waved around in the air, to power the battery used in the cell phone.
In the meantime, UTA has applied for a patent on the this microscopic wind turbine technology, and will be working with WinMEMS Technologies Co., a Taiwanese fabrication company, to explore commercialization opportunities.