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Bigger is better has practically become a rule of thumb in the wind power business. Indeed, the typical wind turbine size has grown from about 300 kilowatts in 1990 to a whopping 7.5 megawatts in 2011. A team of electrical engineers in Texas is challenging the industry’s conventional wisdom by building a wind turbine about 1/10 the size of a single grain of rice. J.C. Chiao , a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Texas, Arlington , and Smitha Rao, a graduate research associate at UT, Arlington, developed the so-called micro-windmill technology based on recent advances in micro-robotic devices. The micro-windmills are about 1/15 of an inch wide and can generate electric power from ambient wind. Full story

11 January