Computers Powered By Harvested Environmental Energy

Moore's Law also seems to apply to the amount of power required to produce computer computations; every 18 months, the amount of electrical power needed to produce a given number of computations is cut in half. this will lead to computers that require almost no power, which will lead to computers in everything.

The performance of computers has shown remarkable and steady growth, doubling every year and a half since the 1970s. What most folks don't know, however, is that the electrical efficiency of computing (the number of computations that can be completed per kilowatt-hour of electricity used) has also doubled every year and a half since the dawn of the computer age.

Harvesting background energy flows, including ambient light, motion, or heat, opens up the possibility of mobile sensors operating indefinitely with no external power source, and that means an explosion of available data. Mobile sensors expand the promise of what Erik Brynjolfsson, a professor of management at MIT calls "nanodata," or customized fine-grained data describing in detail the characteristics of individuals, transactions, and information flows.

SF fans were exposed to this idea early on in the amusing 1956 story Gypped by Lloyd Biggle, Jr.

The paper was read by a scientist on earth, who used it as the point of departure for theoretical study in the latent energy and soundwaves. An engineer saw the study and published a speculation on the amount of on harnessed energy released hourly in the noise of the average large city. Other scientists and engineers became interested in eventually they you've all the now famous Fottengill process, by which all major cities of Earth have free electrical power conveniently processed from their own noise.
(Read more about the Fottengill Process)

Via Technolog Review.

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