Friday, November 30, 2012

Power Generating Leg Braces

Watch for this technology to seep into the private sector as it gets smaller and less obtrusive.

"We've seen several designs for military exoskeletons that can boost soldier strength, but these leg braces from Canada's Bionic Power generate electricity on the go.

The PowerWalk system looks like an athletic knee brace and weighs about 1.7 pounds. The braces generate about 12 watts of electricity when the user walks at a normal pace; an hour's walk can apparently produce enough juice to recharge four cell phones.

That's especially handy for soldiers who have to carry up to 28 pounds of batteries on a 72-hour mission to power everything from flashlights to night vision goggles, according to Bionic Power.

While they've been under development for years, undergoing Canadian military testing in 2008, the PowerWalk braces are now the subject of three development contracts from Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC), DARPA, and the U.S. Army.

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