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UM professor named one of "Brilliant 10" for building energy scavenging sensors

Oct 7, 2014

With Dutta's technologies, gadgets like Fitbit don't need to be plugged into the wall or need batteries.
Credit User: Ian D / Flickr

 

It's not often you can say without a shadow of a doubt that someone is "brilliant." 

But you can make a good case for Prabal Dutta. He's an assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan.

And he has been named one of Popular Science's 2014 Brilliant Ten, a list saluting scientific innovators who are changing the world as we know it.

Dutta made this list for his work on energy scavenging sensors. He explains that these sensors won't need batteries because they can harvest energy from the world around them.

"Just the light that falls on the table top, or the magnetic field through the wire that's carrying a current can be harvested and turned into minute amounts of electricity that tiny computers can use," said Dutta.

Dutta's technologies also scale down to the very small. His research enables millimeter scale computers, called the smart dust, to help us monitor our health and the environment. 

 

* Listen to our conversation with Prabal Dutta above.