By Oliver Hall
Two British inventors are hoping to play a key role in the development of the next generation of “intelligent tyres” after developing a new way to harvest power.
Coventry-based Geoff Haswell and Malcolm Caley have spent five years researching and developing a new power source for tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMS).
They have come up with the world’s first proven piezo power source devised from a simple ceramic disc which can generate electric potential in response to applied mechanical stress.
The duo have had impressive independent test results and are targeting global licensing agreements that could generate millions of pounds in sales whilst securing and creating local jobs.
Geoff, who has a background in mechanical engineering and plastic injection moulding, said: “Currently, tyre pressure monitoring systems are exclusively powered by batteries and this can be costly through having to replace the whole sealed unit when the batteries expire.
“As the units are sealed, the electronic components and the dead battery are difficult to dispose of in an environmentally safe way.
“Our response to this problem was the development of Piezotag, a unique device that is attached to the tyre and, thanks to unique design geometry, uses power harvested from the rotation of the tyre to collect and transmit tyre pressure and temperature information from the wheel to the driver.
“The benefits are long and varied and range from greater accuracy and cost savings to flexibility of design and the creation of surplus power that can be used in other applications.
“The fact there is no battery also means we can use wire-free technology, which immediately reduces the components needed to transfer the information.”