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Movement-harvesting device could 'completely change' small-scale power

Joseph Flaig in Abu Dhabi

Mairi and Martin Wickett with their patented Whatever Input to Torsion Transfer (Witt) device powering a light
Mairi and Martin Wickett with their patented Whatever Input to Torsion Transfer (Witt) device powering a light

A husband-and-wife team has set out to “completely change” small-scale energy generation with the launch of a device that could tap movement in everything from buoys to backpacks.

Mairi and Martin Wickett hope their patented Whatever Input to Torsion Transfer (Witt) device will provide power in a huge range of off-grid applications, from military sensing technology to powering lights and ovens in the developing world. Along with Witt Energy CEO Ron Cowley, the director and inventor respectively officially launched the Witt device today in a tucked-away corner of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week in the United Arab Emirates.

The device captures energy from all six degrees of motion, turning it into usable power. As it moves around because of wave motion, a hiker’s stride or something else, two pendulums connected to a flywheel accentuate the motion and the spinning generates electricity.

“Wherever there’s sustained movement, we can harvest that energy,” said Cowley, who demonstrated by shaking a prototype, which immediately responded by powering lights in a transparent box.

The team plans to build multiple sizes for different purposes. The relatively large Marine Witt could tap wave energy above or below the sea’s surface, powering a buoy’s beacon or keeping military sonar online without solar’s intermittency problems. A Portable Witt could fit in the bottom of backpacks, while a smaller Micro Witt might charge phones or tablets. Other Witts could fit in new wind turbine designs, with sails easily twisting the device without huge blades.

“We’ve always thought global,” said Mairi Wickett to Professional Engineering. “Because of the amount of problems in developing countries with lack of power, we can mass-produce this and actually change people’s lives that have got no power for LED lighting, no power to cook a meal, no power to charge communications – we can completely change that.”

Our reporter Joseph Flaig is at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week. To get in touch with him about a story, email

Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

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