Researchers at New York’s Cornell University have built a micromachine to power remote sensors, based on peizoelectric technology that uses nickel-63 as its power source.

The device uses commercial silicon p-n diodes as b-voltaic converters, attached to a cantilever and which is designed to be bent by electrostatic force resulting from collecting a charge from the b emissions. When it touches the source, the electrostatic field is instantly discharged, the cantilever springs back and sets up a current in a piezoelectric cell.