In “Wireless bridge sensor powered by traffic vibrations,” Meagan Ellis of Materials World Magazine reported on a project by Edward Sazonov demonstrating the use of vibrations generated by passing traffic to charge a battery that can then power a sensor and wireless transmitter. Ms. Ellis used this tease for her story, which ran 1 Feb 2008:
A novel wireless sensor for use on bridges that is powered by the vibrations of vehicles passing overhead has been developed by researchers at Clarkson University in Potsdam, USA. The device, which measures temperature, humidity, light and pressure, could function for years without requiring maintenance or battery replacement.
So, mayhaps this idea from Google’s 10^100 project isn’t too far out, no?