Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hiking: A Backpack That Charges Your IPod?

Date:
October 23, 2007
Source:
Michigan Technological University
Summary:
The stress and strain absorbed by your backpack could one day recharge your cell phone. Researchers have designed a strap that will capture the energy generated by the up-and-down movement of a hiker's pack and turn it into enough voltage to power small electrical devices.

The stress and strain absorbed by your backpack could one day recharge your cell phone.

Researchers at Michigan Technological University have designed a strap that will capture the energy generated by the up-and-down movement of a hiker's pack and turn it into enough voltage to power small electrical devices.

"It's pretty cool," says Henry Sodano, an adjunct professor of engineering "mechanical engineering -- engineering mechanics, who recently accepted a faculty appointment at Arizona State University. "We are harnessing free energy that would normally be lost."

With mechanical engineering graduate students Jonathan Granstrom and Joel Feenstra, Sodano designed straps made of a piezoelectric material that can convert mechanical strain into electrical energy.

You probably wouldn't be able to plug a TV into your backpack; the system is designed for use with devices that require small amounts of electricity, such as a GPS unit. Alternatively, a hiker could charge up a headlamp while walking during the day and then turn it on after dark. Or the backpack could generate enough power to recharge a handheld computer.

The straps are made of a nylon-like polymer that produces a fluctuating, AC current that could be stored in a battery or a capacitor. The researchers teamed up with the Blacksburg, Va., company NanoSonic Inc. to develop a specialized electrode grown on the surface of the strap using nanotechnology.

The beauty of the design is that it requires no extra effort on the part of the user, unlike other devices that transform mechanical energy into electricity, such as wind-up flashlights. It's part of a new field called "energy harvesting."

"We're trying to capture free power. You don't need watts of energy for many modern electronics," Sodano said. "We're not trying to generate significant levels of power, just enough to perform a useful function."

Someone shouldering a heavy pack, such as a soldier in the field, could generate 45.6 milliwatts of power walking two or three miles per hour. That's enough wattage to power small electronics. Or, it could be accumulated for later use.

“In general, we want to accumulate the power before using it; for example you could walk for 20 minutes then have enough power to talk for 2.5 minutes on your cell phone," Sodano says.

The research was funded by the Office of Naval Research, which is investigating power sources for Marines in the field. The researchers hope to receive additional support to develop a prototype and then to commercialize their innovation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Michigan Technological University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Michigan Technological University. "Hiking: A Backpack That Charges Your IPod?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 October 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071019183459.htm>.
Michigan Technological University. (2007, October 23). Hiking: A Backpack That Charges Your IPod?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071019183459.htm
Michigan Technological University. "Hiking: A Backpack That Charges Your IPod?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071019183459.htm (accessed August 28, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) Qantas and Virgin say passengers can use their smartphones and tablets throughout flights after a regulator relaxed a ban on electronic devices during take-off and landing. As Hayley Platt reports the move comes as the two domestic rivals are expected to post annual net losses later this week. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 26, 2014) Huge waves generated by Hurricane Marie hit the Southern California coast. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) Chinese researchers have expanded on Cold War-era tech and are closer to building a submarine that could reach the speed of sound. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) An acute coal shortage is likely to be aggravated as India's supreme court declared government coal allocations illegal, says Breakingviews' Peter Thal Larsen. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins