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Monthly Motion: How Does AMPY MOVE Work?

Posted by Tejas Shastry on Jan 22 2016

It’s been an exciting few months for us at AMPY. We’ve shipped thousands of AMPY MOVEs all over the world (68 countries and 6 continents!), and we’re thankful for all of our users and their feedback. We just received a handwritten letter from a sixth-grader in Orange Park, Florida telling us how she used AMPY MOVE in her science class to learn how energy works. Another user from Washington, Illinois wrote to tell us she was able to keep her phone charged in order to make important calls to friends and family when a terrible ice storm hit in December and knocked out her power for days. We even heard from an Aussie in the land down under who keeps AMPY MOVE on his Kelpie to keep his device full.


Image is photoshopped, but you can imagine.

It’s thrilling and rewarding to learn how AMPY MOVE is making such an impact and how so many people fit it into their lives in ways we never imagined. With AMPY MOVE in hand, many of you have been curious about the science behind the magic and have asked us—How does AMPY MOVE really work? And how does the device capture my kinetic energy and turn it into power for my smartphone?

Let’s start with the basics of the device. As depicted on our Kickstarter page, inside of AMPY MOVE is a circuit board, a battery and two inductors. An inductor is a coil with a magnet suspended inside. When your motion moves the magnet, it induces a current within the coil. Using several types of circuits, this current is then converted into energy that can be stored in the battery.

Inductors have been used to convert kinetic energy into electrical energy for decades in a variety of applications. But these devices are typically big and bulky, about the size of your forearm. So, we set out to find a way to generate more power in a small form factor that could fit into your daily life. In doing so, we came up with a patent-pending inductor architecture that brought AMPY MOVE to life.

Each inductor inside of AMPY MOVE generates a certain amount of power, which is voltage multiplied by current. You know the little blue light that blinks when you hold down the right button and shake AMPY MOVE? Here’s what’s happening when you do that—here’s what electricity really looks like. An independent, third party Elite Electronic Engineering, Inc. found the following in tests with AMPY MOVE:


The voltage (left) and current (right) produced by a single AMPY MOVE inductor. Tested independently at Elite Electronic Engineering, Inc.

To get the maximum theoretical power out of these graphs, we have to consider the fact that the voltage and current are oscillating between positive and negative values. So we divide the distance between the high and low peaks by 2, and multiply the values together to get a maximum theoretical power around 400 mW. If we use two inductors, we would expect to generate 800 mW, but this doesn’t always happen because the inductors can interfere with each other and generate less power than just having one. Our challenge, and the source of our intellectual property, was to figure out how to couple the two inductors without reducing maximum power. By coupling the inductors in a constructive way and processing their power outputs independently, we became the first to extract more power out of more than one inductor. You can read more about it in our patent, which has been approved and is issuing soon.

If you’re doing the math in your head right now, you’re probably thinking 800 mW is a lot of power for a device this small. It is, but the maximum power is reduced because you can’t achieve both maximum voltage and current at the same time (because physics). After the power is generated, you have to then turn it into direct current and charge a battery, and then charge your phone’s battery. Each step whittles away at the amount of energy you can put into your phone. All in all, it takes dozens of hours of exercise to fully charge your AMPY MOVE.

But at the end of it all, each hour of exercise will provide up to an hour of normal use or five hours of standby for your smartphone—that’s a great amount of charge if you’re in a pinch at the end of the day. And if your AMPY MOVE has no battery life, you can generate power by shaking (see the video at the bottom of the post)!

The more you move, the more power you will generate, so running is more efficient than cycling and walking. Use this guide for best placement of AMPY MOVE when you're exercising. We also have a list of tips for best usage.

We're working on new products and features for our unique technology. Your continued support and feedback will ensure fantastic future products. 

So keep moving, running, exercising, cycling, dancing—the more you move, the more power you’ll generate!


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Topics: AMPY, wearables, AMPY MOVE

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