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 ")

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.

DARPA Wants Airborne Launch Facility For Drones
This was tried with recon craft in WWII.

Physicists Build Repulsor / Tractor Beam
'Brandon swung mighty tractor beams upon the severed halves of the Jovian vessel...'- EE 'Doc' Smith, 1931.

 

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

Oak Ridge To Pay For The (Giant, Superfast 3D) Printer
'Can your Biltong print for more than a hundred people?'

Race Into The Future With Bionic Boots
'The tremendous loping strides afforded by such devices... '

Linux Robot Masters Automatic Charging
'Then it appeared to make up its mind, and trundled over to a wall socket...'

PR2 Robot Dominates In Laundry Room
Where are the robots who will pick up discarded clothes?

Do You Want A Tablet Computer? Or, Fad Over?
'He would plug his foolscap-sized Newspad into the ship's information circuit'

First Person Video Flying Parrot Bebop Drone Video
'Over a radius of several miles Sonya's raytron apparatus could direct its flight...'

XPrize's Diamandis Implants RFID Tag In Hand
'People in Manhattan have replaced their Freedom Card with a radio-frequency chip about the size of a vitamin pill.'

Lightpaper Way Thinner Than OLED
'You have this on Siwenna?'

Foodini 3D Printer
''...Food slot gave him flat reddish-brown bricks.'

Parrot Bebop Drone Pairs With Your Smartphone
'Over a radius of several miles Sonya's raytron apparatus could direct its flight [using] an image of all that the lens eye saw.'

SCRIBE Enables Distributed Genomically Encoded Memory
Genomic DNA for analog, rewritable, and flexible memory.

Artisanal 3D Printing By Martha Stewart
'Nanofax AG offers a technology that digitally reproduces objects, physically, at a distance.'

Knightscope Robot Security Guards Ready
'A robot guard appeared, streaking toward them across the field.'

Bullet-Proof Kevlar Woven Electronics
'Check the watch imprinted on his sleeve...'

USAF 'BATMAN' Wrist Display
'The tiny screen in the bracelet's center...'

CoBots - Collaborative Robots Ask Humans For Help
'Whenever a robot finds something it can't identify... You give it a good look.'

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.