Navy

Human Movement Charges Smartphones and Tablets

Perfect for backpack, strap, or in the heel of a shoe

Energy

Chemists at China Lake have discovered a way to harvest electrical energy by putting a storage device in a backpack, strap, or in the heel of a shoe to power small devices such as smart phones and tablets. Skilled inventors include M. Joseph Roberts, Alfred J. Baca, William W. Lai, Lawrence C. Baldwin, and Michael T. Owens.

Existing Technology

There are countless battery charging devices on the market, but not many that charge a battery simply by using human movements. One day soon you may be able to charge your smart phone via foot power.

New Technology

The DoD Power Systems Initiative called for lighter batteries to ease the Warfighters burden when on foot. Chemists at China Lake answered the call and found a way to harvest electrical energy by putting a storage device in a backpack, strap, or in the heel of a shoe to power small devices such as smart phones and  tablets. The secret is auxetic materials. While most materials have a positive Poisson ratio that expands under compression, auxetic materials have a negative Poisson ratio that contracts under compression. Auxetic materials have the potential to exponentially increase the energy harvesting ability for many different systems. Motion energy harvesting may include human motion, ambient vibration, wind-driven motion, and wave motion. Currently, auxetics design and testing is a core science and technology program at China Lake. In 2007, while studying mechanical energy harvesting with piezoelectrics, China Lake realized that an auxetic framework had far greater potential. China Lake designed and 3D printed auxetic material samples for mechanical testing. In 2015, two U.S. Patents were issued: 9048761 and 9030079.

How It Works

The invention is expected to enhance the conversion of mechanical to electrical energy in dielectric elastomer generator, triboelectric, and piezoelectric devices. At China Lake in 2007, while studying mechanical energy harvesting with piezoelectrics, it was realized that an auxetic framework would have greater potential and give an exponentially increase in energy harvesting ability for many different systems. Triboelectric nanogenerators (TENG) looks promising for energizing low power devices such as distributed sensors, emitters, and transmitters.

Who Benefits

  • Warfighters (on foot)
  • Hikers
  • Walkers

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