Windbelt: The Ribbon Wind Generator

What if wind generators didn’t have to spin round and round and round? Your engineer friends will explain why that’s a problem using words like “surface area” and “torque.” This brilliant alternative was actually inspired by another technical term, though one that’s easier to grasp: mechanical resonance — the reason the first Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapsed.

The band vibrates back and forth, and tiny magnets at each end take the place of a conventional spinning generator. We’re thinking about the functional and artistic potentials: imagine entire facades of skyscrapers or homes covered with tiny wind generators: buildings would shimmer in the slightest breeze while generating electricity. (We’re hoping they don’t make much noise, but that would be an obvious limitation to their use en masse in proximity to buildings.)

Check out a higher-quality video and more detailed description at Popular Science.

Thanks to engineer friend Lora!