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The high bandwidth necessary to transmit real-time vibration data from hundreds of sensors practically dictates the development of smart vibration sensors with local processing to minimize power consumption requirements. Modeling, design, and experimental validation of a piezoelectric "harvest" ambient energy generator based on vibrations for remote and long-term sensing networks are presented. Higher level processing by a central monitoring system allows sophisticated analysis of realtime data while minimizing network traffic. Quantitative results were obtained to guide the parametric design of each constituent component. Simulations and experimental studies have validated the functionality of each individual component as well as the piezoelectric generator/sensor as an integrated unit.