Vibrational Electrical Generators (VEGS)

VEGS turn wasted vibrational energy into electricity. Every swaying tree, bouncing roadway, turbulent stream, vibrating bridge and seismic shake becomes a source of power.

The VEGS idea was born in 1980, died shortly thereafter (not because it was bad, but because I had lost my will) and has now been reborn (maybe).


It started with the automotive textbooks that Claud Hunter and I coauthored for Prentice Hall. Several of the books described automotive electrical systems, including alternators and ignition coils.

Alternators convert rotational energy supplied by engines into the continuous electrical current needed to operate vehicles. Ignition coils use collapsing lines of magnetic force to “induce” sudden bursts of high voltage current that cause spark plugs to ignite air and fuel.

Although I don’t remember the details, the idea for VEGS probably had something to do with combining the operation of alternator-type generators and coils - using vibrational energy to generate movement between conductors and lines of force.

In 1980, when the VEGS idea was discovered, I was already a “mature” inventor. I had conceived of airplanes without wings, spaceships without visible means of propulsion, upside down ketchup bottles, and a modular building product, called the Tetra Triangular Building System, which replaced bricks and blocks with triangles. By now, I understood that inventing something is easy, but that developing an idea requires certain knowledge and skills. In those previous pursuits of grandeur, I had ignored such practical considerations. Now, for some reason, I could not.

So, this was my next-to-the-last invention of a physical thing (as opposed to metaphysical, metaphorical and software things - which I still pursue up to this very moment). After creating a Record of Invention and contacting, half-heartedly, a few companies, I buried the small VEGS corpse in a dusty cardboard box beside the remains of the Tetra Triangular Building System.

Note: The last physical invention was a non-obvious variation on VEGS, creating a different sort of VEG which can double as a motor. I’m saving that one, just in case.


VEGS was resurrected in 2008 in response to Google’s Project 10^100 initiative. Celebrating Google’s 10th anniversary, the initiative is described as…

“A call for ideas to change the world by helping as many people as possible”

Reading the part about the 10M seed money (but not the part that said my reward would be good karma - for the next life I guess) I thought, “What the hell. Maybe I can still get rich and save the world.”

Following are excerpts from my Project 10^100 proposal. After that is the original VEGS Record of Invention.

Excerpts from Project 10^100 Proposal

Description of VEGS…

All generators transform moving energy into electrical energy, converting the motion of stuff (air, water, steam, etc) into relative movement between magnetic fields and conductors. The result is current flow in the conductor.

The difference between conventional systems and Vibrational Electric Generators (VEGS) is the source of the energy. Conventional systems can only use energy from regular, unidirectional motion (flowing water, steam, air).

VEGS capture energy from irregular motion. The energy of every swaying tree, tower or building can be converted directly into electrical power - as can the surge of surf, the undulation of river rapids, the movement of road pavement caused by traffic, the bouncing of cars on those roads, the vibration of strings in wind, the seismic activity of the earth itself.

Whereas conventional generators have stators and rotors, VEGS have stators and vibrators. The vibrator can be the magnetic field-producing element or the conductor. In either case, relative motion is derived directly from energy source. No intervening, energy-wasting mechanism (windmill blade, turbine rotor, impeller wheel) is needed to convert straight- line motion into rotational motion. Minimal alteration of the environment is required. VEGS are inherently clean.

The system can be illustrated by a bell, clapper and rope. When pulled, the rope becomes a vibrational energy source. This energy is transferred to the bell. Viewed as a VEG, the bell becomes the vibrator and the clapper becomes the stator.

Output from VEGS can be directed to a power grid, or to batteries, or other storage devices. Solid state components can be used to modify output as required.

Addressing the Energy Crisis…

VEGS address the three main aspects of the energy crisis — availability, cost, and environmental impact. Depending on how well the technology works and on how widely it is adopted, VEGS could significantly alleviate the energy crisis.

  • Availability. Vibrational energy sources used by VEGS are available in every county and region. The reliance of one country on another for power is minimized.
  • Cost. Vibrational energy sources are free for the taking. The only costs are the VEGS themselves.
  • Environmental Impact. Except for their presence, VEGS do not alter the environment. Well-designed VEGS could harmonize with their surroundings.

Benefiting Developed and Undeveloped Countries…

VEGS would benefit people in developed and undeveloped countries.

In developed countries with established electrical grids, VEGS could be used to feed power back into the system. Everyone with access to sources of vibrational energy (which is virtually everyone) would become producers of electricity. Using free energy sources would reduce cost. Using local energy sources would reduce reliance on foreign suppliers. In emergencies, stand-alone VEGS could supply power independently of the grid.

In undeveloped countries without grids, stand-alone VEGS could reduce the need for a national grid. Tapping local sources of vibrational energy, regions could supply their own minimal (or maximal) power needs. Everyone could have at least some electricity. (Toss pendulum generators in the surf off Tierra Del Fuego and potentially you’ve got lights and computers.)

Record of Invention

Click pictures to enlarge.

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