Fujitsu Laboratories today announced a two-in-one energy harvesting device that can convert both light and heat into electricity. With no electrical wiring or batteries to replace, Fujitsu says that this sort of device can be manufactured from organic materials keeping costs to a minimum.

Devices that use photovoltaic cells to convert light to electricity or temperature differentials to harness heat are not new, but by combining the two on a single hybrid device, Fujitsu says it can double the energy-capture potential.

Fujitsu's diagram shows how such a device, which contains both N-type and P-type semiconductor materials, can operate in both photovoltaic mode (left) and thermoelectric mode (right):

The company points out the great potential for such technology in medical fields where it could be used in sensors to monitor certain bio-signals. In addition, because the technology can generate power without electric wires or the need for battery replacement, it could also be of use in remote areas (or even in space, presumably) where it isn't convenient to send humans to maintain the device.

If you're a regular reader of Gizmag you're well aware of Fujitsu Laboratories' efforts in the field of green tech. Whether it's plant-based plastics, power-saving optical switch technology, or even something as simple as a smarter power strip, we're always curious to see what these folks are up to.

View gallery - 2 images