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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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Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Great idea
Rob Spiegel   11/21/2011 12:29:33 PM
Cool article. I wonder, though, whether the gadget on the boot makes walking harder. I also wonder how the energy is stored between the time it is generated by the walking and the time it is transferred to a particular device. Any thoughts on that Pat?

robatnorcross
User Rank
Gold
Re: Useful solution
robatnorcross   11/21/2011 8:38:21 AM
I hate to be the wet blanket BUT:

According to several websites a AA battery stores about 2.5 W-hrs. The soldier

is not only carrying more weight attached to each foot but is having to produce

around 11 W-hrs to charge the things and I assume he's wearing the boots 24/7.

Wouldn't a small solar panel be lighter and less complicated (no moving parts)?

Alexander Wolfe
User Rank
Blogger
Useful solution
Alexander Wolfe   11/21/2011 8:20:27 AM
This boot is at the nexus of necessity and utility. Our soldiers sorely need a recharging solution for their many comms devices. I've read -- I think it was in book like Generation Kill and also War by Sebastian Junger (or maybe it was on the Military Channel) -- that our troops in Afganistan and Iraq, particularly those in Humvees, have had to get their own Duracells sent from home in care packages because their lack of access to recharging was such a problem. So this solution, if it can move from research to implementation, will be extremely useful.

Beth Stackpole
User Rank
Blogger
Wired soldiers
Beth Stackpole   11/21/2011 8:00:07 AM
Wow, it's amazing when you actually think about the number of high-tech devices that the typical soldier carries and what kind of added weight that translates to in their packs. The biomechanical energy harvesting idea seems promising. I would think the typical solider engages in enough movement and activity during the day to harvest and create a sufficient amount of energy for this technology to really have an impact.

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