Blowin' In the Wind

This novel anemometer doesn't promise something for nothing—but it does come close. It scavenges energy from the very wind it is measuring and provides its own power for data transmission from a self-contained generator.

The anemometer is based on a conventional 3-cup design, with the cups positioned several inches above the body of the device to minimize the aerodynamic influence of the housing. Internal to the ane-mometer is a revolutionary generator design that has zero drag and no magnetic cogging on the cups. This allows the cups to begin turning at wind speeds <2 mph. Also in the generator body is electronic circuitry that calculates wind velocity based on the cups' rotational speed, and wirelessly transmits the data back to the base station, up to 200 ft. distant. The wireless feature ensures that even a direct lightning strike to the sensor will not cause damage to follow-on equipment.

The base station consists of a 916 MHz receiver and decoding electronics. Decoder output consists of pulses for connecting to existing data loggers, an RS-232 port for connection to serial-based devices, and an LCD display for convenient local readout. Wind direction is optionally available. Systems will be available in Q3 of 2006. Markets include marine and meteorological applications and wind power projects. (