The increased awareness of climate change and focus on renewable resources has been a boon to the green industry. Fully electric cars — although still expensive and impractical for most of us — are in fashion. Then, there are the wind farms springing up around the US, and talk of wave-powered generators along the east coast. Of course, dams have long been a source of mechanical and electrical power.
The combination of unstable oil prices, pressure to identify green alternatives to fossil fuel, and a poor economy has renewed interest in economical alternatives to petroleum-based energy sources. While coal, wind, and solar hold promise, one of the most technologically intriguing approaches to powering electronic devices is energy harvesting, which involves siphoning off relatively small amounts of energy from an ongoing process.