Backpack Generator Harnesses Power Of Walking

A backpack generator designed by Lawrence Rome and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania is able to convert the vigorous strides of hikers into more than 7 watts of usable power. That's enough for emergency workers to power a GPS locator and a head-lamp indefinitely.


(Backpack Generator worn by Lawrence Rome)

The pack is spring-loaded, and mounted on rails to slide up and down as the wearer strides along. This motion moves a toothed rod, which meshes with a gearwheel, which turns to generate electricity. As you might guess, the heavier the load, the more power is generated - but the harder it is too walk. However, research showed [I just love that whole "reality-based" approach] that wearers alter their gait to walk more efficiently when wearing the sliding pack.


(Lawrence Rome Backpack Generator Diagram)

My first introduction to the idea of generating power from ordinary human motions was in Dune, the classic sf novel by Frank Herbert. In the novel, he writes about stillsuits that utilize the power of human locomotion. Stillsuits are used to capture and recycle human perspiration on a planet almost devoid of surface water:

Perspiration passes through it, having cooled the body. Motions of the body, especially breathing, and some osmotic action provide the pumping force. With a Fremen suit in good working order, you won't lose more than a thimbleful of moisture a day - even if you're caught in the Great Erg. (Read more about Frank Herbert's stillsuit)

I wonder if Lawrence considered tightening the harness just a bit, to take advantage of the chest expansion and compression?

Read more about the backpack generator. Also, take a look in the comments for this story to see a nineteenth century example of harnessing natural body motions (can you think of an earlier one?)

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/10/2005)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 6 )

Related News Stories - (" Engineering ")

Neuroscientist Works Toward Virtual Immortality ala Clarke
'Nothing will be left of Jeserac but a galaxy of electrons frozen in the heart of a crystal.'- Arthur C. Clarke, 1956.

Colloidal Quantum Dots Make Spray-On Solar Cells Possible
'Black Power... you spray it on.'- Larry Niven, 1995

Race Into The Future With Bionic Boots
'The tremendous loping strides afforded by such devices... '- Neal Stephenson, 1995.

Lightpaper Way Thinner Than OLED
'You have this on Siwenna?'- Isaac Asimov, 1952.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

3D Printer 'Teleports' Objects Like Simak's Way Stations
'An entirely new being but exactly like the old one'

Laser Etching Makes Metal Super-Hydrophobic
'The water flowed off those walls without binding tension.'

Patient Walks Out With Fully Artificial Heart
'The throb of the robot pump gave him confidence...'

Radisens' Gemini Instant Blood Tests
An amazing lab-on-a-panel.

Nonhuman Artist Collective Keeps Robot Artist Earnings Until Legal
Pay the artists!

Argentine Orangutan Receives Basic Human Rights
'They wouldn't dare let the Fuzzies be proven sapient...'

Elon Musk, Google To Extend Internet Into Earth Orbit, Then Mars
'This was the center of Interplanetary Communications.'

Range R Lets Police See Into Your House
There are lots of ways to see through walls!

Thync Mood Alteration Like PKD's Mood Organ
'I sat down at my mood organ and I experimented...'

Atlas DRC Robot Now Untethered
Would a robot walking toward you make you feel afraid?

VirtualGreen Putting Simulator Like Brin's Needle-Gym
'My eyes saw a tiny, off-white chamber, its coarse floor of needles mimicking a steep hillside...'

VW Golf R Touch With Gesture Control
'All you had to do was wave your hand...'

The Bioengineered Uterus
Will it ever exist?

3Doodler 2.0 Create A 3D Object With A Pen
'Plastic comes out of the end of the drawing arm and hardens as it comes.'

Cambrian Genetics Says 'Print Your Own Genetically Unique Creature'
'The study of Nature makes a man at last as remorseless as Nature.'

Meet 'Ross', Your Watson-Based Legal Researcher
'Why don't we just feed the bloody thing to LEX and ask for a summary?'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.