A bracing walk will charge your phone

Paul Raven @ 07-02-2008

Power-generator-knee-brace File under “gimme one of those” – a Canadian university team has developed a knee brace device that harnesses the movement of the leg while walking to produce 5 Watts of power. [Image from linked NewScientist article]

That’s enough to run ten mobile phones at once, apparently (though why you’d ever need more than one isn’t clear … I kid, I kid). From the article:

“The generator does not significantly increase the effort required for walking, says Max Donelan of Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, Canada, who led its development.

“Muscles spend about the same amount of time working as brakes as they do working as motors,” he explains. The device is designed so it only generates electricity during the “braking” phase of each step. This is when the leg is being unbent and is decelerating, just before the foot touches the ground.

The device works similarly to hybrid and electric cars, Donelan points out. They boost efficiency by generating electricity from energy expended during braking – known as regenerative braking.”

A device that saves on my electricity bill and encourages me to exercise? It’s the ultimate accessory for the self-sufficient cyberpunk-around-town – where do I sign?

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