The new energy harvester, developed by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), is not only inexpensive but light as well – matching the thinness and flexibility of a plastic sheet.
"The device can work in remote areas because it provides its own power and does not need batteries," explained UCLA researcher Richard Kaner, the senior author of the study. "It's a very clever device – a weather station that can tell you how much snow is falling, the direction the snow is falling, and the direction and speed of the wind."
Like its conventional counterparts, the "snow-based triboelectric nanogenerator" draws electrical charge from static electricity. It takes advantage of the transfer of electrons to produce usable energy.
Kaner and his team released the details of their nanogenerator on the journal Nano Energy.