Improvement of piezoelectric and triboelectric generators that harvest the kinetic energy produced by motion continues to be gaining momentum in the last couple of years, and today the Marine Corps and the US Army are taking the technology into the field. Vancouver-based Bionic Power may quickly provide soldiers with its PowerWalk Kinetic Energy Harvester, a lightweight device used while troopers wear around their knees that recharges batteries while soldiers walk.
The PowerWalk includes a gearbox that routinely changes the knee’s rotation speed into a higher speed that is that is more effective for that power turbine that is onboard to subsequently transform to electrical energy. The end result is 10 to 12 watts of energy, that will be itself subsequently transformed into cost Li-ion or NiMH batteries.
Sporting a PowerWalk on each leg, may evidently produce energy that is enough electricity to charge four smartphones after an hour of walking at a reasonable pace. The PowerWalk can also be in a position to evaluate the individual’s gait to look for the time that is most effective for you to produce energy, and Bionic Power claims a secondary benefit of reducing muscle fatigue during downhill walking, lowering the risk of knee injury.
The programs for that army are obvious. Electricity is essential within the area, with optics and communications products all needing energy, which often entails transporting heavy battery packs.
“A soldier typically carries 16 to 20 lbs (7 to 9 kg) in batteries on a 72-hour mission. If a soldier can generate power with wearable energy-harvesting devices, it means we can not only reduce the weight on his or her back, we also minimize the unit’s reliance on field resupply, making it possible for us to extend the duration and effectiveness of a mission,” says Noel Soto, US Army Systems Engineer.”
The agreement between the US Army and Marine Corps and also the Bionic Power might find PowerWalk models in the field in early to mid-2017. Beyond that, Bionic Power desires to create the device to other professional and general consumer markets.