A research team from Japan’s Kansai University has joined hands with Sumitomo Rubber Industries, the parent company of the tire brand Falken, in developing a special tire static-electricity harvester that can collect the static electricity of rolling tires. The function of the harvester is useful not only for powering small in-car electronic devices such as sensors and radios, but also for preventing static-electric shocks.
The product, dubbed “Energy Harvester,” is a small device that can be installed on the inside of tires. It consists of two films with a positive and a negative electrode, respectively, which is set between two rubber layers. When a car is traveling on the road, the two membranes would rub against each other along with the rolling tires, generating electricity to be harvested by the device.
According to the research team, the electricity generated by the device can be used for powering multiple in-car electronic devices such as tire-pressure monitoring systems (TPMS), sensors, dash lights, and radios.
In 2015, a similar type of device was developed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which can be installed on the tires of electric toy trucks to power their headlights.
(Collaborative media: TechNews, photo courtesy of Sumitomo Rubber Industries,)