Walking is good for health and it makes you stay active but have you ever considered the probability that it could even power tech gadgets? It’s reported that a simple task of walking could soon power our mobile devices. It has been found by a group of British researchers who have created an energy harvester which generates electricity when your knees move. So this new device could actually make you get rid of carrying batteries with you. Imagine what it could mean for a soldier who carries 22 pounds in his backpack comprising of batteries only.
If you are wondering how it works then this is how- the device will fit on the outside of your knee and will consist of an outer ring and central hub. When you walk, in the motion the ring rotates. The outer ring has 72 guitar-pick-like teeth. This plucks the energy-generating arms (four in number) which are attached to the inner hub. When each of the teeth plucks off the arm, vibration takes place and it is almost equal to that of a guitar string which ultimately generates electrical energy. The energy harvester-picks generate about two mill watts. Although this isn’t enough, researchers believe that with few improvements this could easily reach 30 mill watts making even GPS tracking possible.
A test has always been conducted in this regard with a simulated knee that reproduced the way a human walks. The energy harvester was tested on this. A person was then fitted with reflective markers and a motion capture system. This helped in recording the patterns of movement both when a person is carrying a load and without one (in this case a backpack). Almost three different weighted options have been tried with to see how a knee functions and how much energy is generated thus from it.
This device will be presented on June 15 in the Journal Smart Materials and Structures by researchers from Cranfield University, The University of Liverpool and University of Salford. Dr Michele Pozzi is the lead author of the study and he has estimated the cost of each such unit at about $15 each but only if they are mass produced.