Scientists Invent Leg Brace That Generates Power!
This is such a super cool thing. A great invention. We need more ideas like this in all areas of our existence if we really are going to beat global warming. People step outside the box, put on those thinking caps! I know we can do it!!!! Love, Elizabeth Fiend
Source: The New York Times
By JOHN SCHWARTZ
Some people exercise by power walking. But what if walking could actually provide electrical power? Researchers have developed an electrical generator mounted on the knee that turns walks into watts.
The device, which in its current form looks a little like a simple knee brace with cyborg bling, harnesses power from part of the stride.
J. Maxwell Donelan, the lead researcher and a professor of kinesiology at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, compared the device to the regenerative braking used to produce electricity for hybrid cars.
The generator does not capture the motion throughout the entire stride, since that would subject the user to a dragging feeling with each step. Instead, the gearwork disengages at the beginning of the step and re-engages as the leg swings back from a stride.
This means that the only drag occurs at the tail end of the stride, when muscles are actually working to slow the leg down. It does not detract from the energy required for moving forward, and in fact, by slowing down the leg at that stage of the stride, ends up relieving the muscles of some of the effort.
One device on each leg can produce about five watts of electricity, Dr. Donelan said. That is enough to run 10 cellphones, or potentially, medical devices like insulin pumps or prosthetic limbs. The power generated could be stored in a battery.