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 ")

Graphene Cytobot - Cyborg Bacterial Spores May Help Astronauts
'[It] had not yet objected to being made over into a portion of an electronic system... '- Philip K. Dick, 1964.

Coleus LED 'Skylight' Dispenses Natural Sunlight Indoors
'How do they work it so that the sky is visible at every level of the city?'- Stanislaw Lem, 1961.

iSkin On-Body Touch Sensors
'Three rows of four colored dots appeared on the heel of my left hand.'- John Varley, 1992.

Skin Wearable Harvests Power With Triboelectric Effect
'He had tightened the chest to gain maximum pumping action...'- Frank Herbert, 1965.

 

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

eMotionButterfly Ultralight Robot From Festo
'Artificial butterflies darted along invisible beams...'

Graphene Cytobot - Cyborg Bacterial Spores May Help Astronauts
'[It] had not yet objected to being made over into a portion of an electronic system... '

XM82 Personal Flamethrower Now In Development
'Skeletons in tatters. Burned by a flesh gun'

Delightful Plen2 Mirror Robot - The Anti-Terminator
Time for fun, Will Robinson!

LiquiGlide Will Be Everywhere
'They poured the remnants of eggs out of their frictionless cups...'

US Customs Now Doing Facial Recognition At DC Airport
Are you who you say you are?

How Many Systems In That Galactic Empire Now?
'An Empire to twenty million stellar systems...'

Petman Robot Pushes Itself To The Limit
'There was the butler robot, hard at work, his copper face expressionless...'

Coleus LED 'Skylight' Dispenses Natural Sunlight Indoors
'How do they work it so that the sky is visible at every level of the city?'

UR3 Robot At Work On Copies Of Itself
'I don't mean that you should construct this ultra-microrobot with your own fingers, of course...'

3D Printing 'Terminator T-1000-Style'
Not quite 'a mimetic polyalloy...'

Norlin Shoe Drone Robot UAV In-Store Delivery Thing
'Robot-salesmen were everywhere, gesturing, pleading, shrilling.'

Bridge-MINDER Repair Robot
'The repair robots had started out on their rounds...'

Super Ball Bot Tensegrity Robot For Solar System Exploration
'Each leg in turn acted as a pivot around which the creature whirled its body...'

iSkin On-Body Touch Sensors
'Three rows of four colored dots appeared on the heel of my left hand.'

Britain To Build Spaceport, First In Europe
'The space-ports at the three great cities...'

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.