Forest fires cause terrible devastation every year -- not to mention the release of huge amounts of greenhouse gases. Stopping forest fires is hard enough, but what about detecting them before they get to be a problem?
Scientists at MIT have a possible solution. They propose creating a network of wireless sensors that would detect nascent fires and help prevent them before they get out of control.
Here's the kicker: the sensors would be powered by the trees themselves.
You see, like any living creature, a tree produces a tiny amount of electricity as part of its life processes. The research proposes tapping into this bioenergy to recharge the sensors that would be implanted on the trees. The sensors' batteries would, theoretically, have a limitless lifespan and not need human action to be recharged.
With just four sensors per acre monitoring temperature and humidity, this could be an easy, green way to help preserve our great forests.
Now if only we could find something natural and sustainable to power our cars...