Army

Kinetic energy capture device for backpacks

Charge your smartphone on a long hike

Energy

Hiking with a backpack causes a person to burn energy. Most of that energy is used to walk, which includes some spent shifting motion of the backpack. As an organization whose personnel spend a significant amount of time going from one place to another by foot, the U.S. Army would like to capture and repurpose that energy.

To that point, Army engineers have developed a device that can be fitted to a backpack to capture the vertical motion of the pack. In this small apparatus, a spring is attached to the backpack strap and the housing of the device is attached to another portion of the pack such as the waist belt. Within the device, the spring is attached to a gear set and rotational magnet assembly to create stored, potential energy.

Movement of one end of the device coupled by the spring to another part of the pack creates linear motion. This kinetic energy is captured and used to charge a small electronic device.

The use is not restricted to a backpack. It could also be attached to a purse, computer satchel, duffle bag, or other pieces of equipment often in motion.

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