Multiple-DOF energy harvester from vibrations

Cantilevers with 1, 2 and 3 degrees of freedom​

Invention Summary:

Piezoelectric energy harvesters mounted on bridges, pavements and other transportation infrastructure can potentially replace batteries for powering autonomous sensors by converting ambient kinetic energy into electric energy. Due to complications and uncertainties of vibration modes encountered in the field, single-beam cantilever-based energy piezoelectric energy harvesters may not be able to resonate at the vibration frequency on bridges.

Researchers at Rutgers have designed vibration-based energy harvesters consisting of cantilevers with multiple degree of freedom (DOF) (1-DOF, 2-DOF, 3-DOF) to generate more electricity under multiple vibration frequencies within a broadband. These devices have been tested under a full-scale bridge with dynamic loads. Such novel cantilever design allows for more resonant frequencies therefore a higher probably of matching the vibration frequencies in the field. In addition, resonant frequencies of the cantilever and the vibration frequencies of the bridge are measured and compared, a model is established for designing of a cantilever system that can maximize power output under a complex bridge vibration scenario. 


The multiple DOF allows the proposed design to:

  • Resonate at multiple frequencies
  • Match with structural vibration frequencies better to increase the total energy output compared to 1-DOF
  • Be integrated with autonomous sensors for monitoring structural health of bridges and other infrastructure

Market Applications:

  • Energy harvesting device for self-powered sensors mounted on bridges
  • Monitoring structural health of infrastructure like strain, acceleration and temperature 

Intellectual Property & Development Status: Provisional patent application filed, patent pending. Available for licensing and/or research collaboration. Please contact



Patent Information:
Lisa Lyu
Assistant Director
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey