Piezoelectric materials have long been used to turn kinetic energy into electrical energy, but a clever application by Georgia Tech researchers is making those materials much smarter. By adding a gate to piezoelectric circuits, researchers have turned a mechanical action directly into a logic operation for the first time. This approach could turn conventional “dumb” circuits into computational circuitry that might run smaller micro-robots to harvest power as they perform their functions.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.