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 ")

Nuclear Batteries Based On Diamonds Last Millennia
'they just package it and ship it around to wherever people want it...' - Robert Heinlein, 1982.

MIT Researchers Predict The Future From Still Photos
'What I have in this camera is not a record of what you did just now but what will go on here in the next half hour...'- Philip K. Dick, 1964.

Artificial Muscle Material Is Self-Healing, Super Stretchy
Battletech!

Arctic Cities Crumble As Permafrost Melts
'The tapes stretch several kilometers in each direction.' - Robert Silverberg, 1970.

 

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

Honda To Offer Car With Emotions
'All the doors in this spaceship have a cheerful and sunny disposition.'

Just Eat And Starship Bring You Food Via Robot
'...its underside was studded with grilled sensors.'

Life In Detroit's 'Agrihood' - The First In The U.S.
'countless tiny brown circles in the green fields ...occasional ruins of ancient cities...'

Artificial 'Hairs' To Enhance Senses Of Robots
'Migul had extended from each of the fingertips an inch-long filament of wire...'

The Point Of View Of An Autonomous Car
'It is safe to say that the new model almost revolutionized America in more ways than one...'

You Can't Lose The Travelmate Autonomous Suitcase - It Follows You
'...follow him as faithfully as a well-trained hound.'

ibotn Toddler-Care Mini-Robot
'She's not like a machine. She's like a person. A living person.'

Nuclear Batteries Based On Diamonds Last Millennia
'they just package it and ship it around to wherever people want it...'

Eighth Sense Emotion-Responsive Cloak
'This sensitivity to mood explains the real popularity of bio-fabrics...'

British Airways To Offer An Ingestible Sensor To Passengers
The modern way to get feedback from passengers.

Unique DNA To Foil Parts Counterfeiters
'... the only molecule, a unique protein amino acid, which could not be duplicated.'

MIT Researchers Predict The Future From Still Photos
'What I have in this camera is not a record of what you did just now but what will go on here in the next half hour...'

Mini Robot Uses 2 mm Surgical Tools
'... surgical tool - blades, tweezers, probes - so fine you could just see them with the naked eye.'

Childhood Dreams Of Space Realized! Space Junk Problem Solved!
'Give the noble daydreams a rest, you preachy rookie. Astronauts are wage slaves like everyone else!'

Writhing Robotic Tentacle Uses Laser To Chop Nuke Hardware
'... long, flexible, glittering tentacles... swinging and rattling about its strange body.'

LBNP Device Not Quite 'Artificial Gravity'
'Joe got out the gravity-simulator harnesses..'

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.