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US Army's Boot-Based Energy Harvester Lightens Soldier's Load
11/21/2011

The SPaRK biomechanical energy harvester produces 6 to 9 watts of continuous electricity from walking.  (Credit: SpringActive Inc.)
The SPaRK biomechanical energy harvester produces 6 to 9 watts of continuous electricity from walking.
(Credit: SpringActive Inc.)

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Cabe Atwell
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Re: Other Applications
Cabe Atwell   5/31/2014 12:26:21 AM
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The boots have since been scrapped for the most part. The military is heavily investing in wireless energy transfer to power devices such as GPS, communications and optics with vehicles outfitted with power-transfer technology.

 

Also... looks like a lot of work.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Other Applications
Rob Spiegel   11/30/2011 2:52:14 PM
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I agree, Tim, especially now that we have so many gadgets that need continual recharging. I would imagine if this opened up, there would be a wide range of applications to charge devices. Perhaps one of those hand-grip exercise tools that build arm muscle while producing electricity.

TJ McDermott
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Energy Boots or Powerd Exoskeleton
TJ McDermott   11/29/2011 10:58:36 PM
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Last year I saw powered exoskeleton tests for the army.  The exoskeleton was a load-bearing means.  I suspect this might end up being more useful than energy boots.  Note how much the soldier's load weight has increased over time.  It's always going up.  A small weight savings in batteries will be erased by other, new, absolutely necessary equipment.

 

William K.
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Energy harvesting boots
William K.   11/23/2011 9:27:29 PM
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The picture reminds me of some boots that I once owned. I would like to see a race between somebody wearing them and an infantry-man weraing normal issue boots. Of course it is possible that they could run faster than I could while wearing safety boots.

Aside from that it does look like a potentially good idea.

William K.
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Energy harvesting boots
William K.   11/23/2011 9:27:24 PM
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The picture reminds me of some boots that I once owned. I would like to see a race between somebody wearing them and an infantry-man weraing normal issue boots. Of course it is possible that they could run faster than I could while wearing safety boots.

Aside from that it does look like a potentially good idea.

Tim
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Other Applications
Tim   11/23/2011 8:07:01 PM
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Applying this in the battlefield can be a great application, but civilian uses of this technology are also high.  Imagine a running shoe with a similar technolgy that charges your Ipod or cell phone while you go running. This would be a geat way to stay green.

vimalkumarp
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energy harvesting
vimalkumarp   11/23/2011 8:23:12 AM
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It is also interesting to note that many semiconductor device manufacturers have come out with specific energy harvester IC, like Linear Technologies LTC 3588. This segment will definitely gather momentum. Success stories like that of solar impluse http://www.solarimpulse.com/ will act as catalysts in energy harvesting.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Impractical idea, but stay tuned.....
Rob Spiegel   11/23/2011 7:21:35 AM
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You're right, Gusman, that's definitely coming. But assuming the foot generator doesn't impede movement -- or squeak too much -- it's quite a clever idea for helping the soldier to be self-sufficient out in the field.

Beth Stackpole
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Re: 100# pack is bottom-line
Beth Stackpole   11/23/2011 6:48:26 AM
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Robotic soldiers--now that's a development I could get behind. Kind of like those soldiers/transformer-type robots that were part of the military crew in James Cameron's Avatar movie. Who cares if they get blown up. It's only money!!

Doug Cook
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Re: 100# pack is bottom-line
Doug Cook   11/22/2011 4:55:46 PM
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Actually, the article describes the energy harvesting to be in the "heel-strike" portion of the gait cycle; so, the extra 100# would add about 50% to the moment about the ankle (assuming solidiers are less than 200#), making the 6-9W about 2-3% of the maximum ankle power.  We are collaborating on the opposite problem, providing power to the ankle for those with disabilities; and, this portion of the gait cycle will be harvested as well, though to a much smaller degree.

I suspect that this is just a step toward robotic solidiers anyway, for those instances where UAV's don't work.

 

 

 

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