A group of researchers have developed a type of knee brace, dubbed the “pizzicato knee-joint energy harvester” that can be worn on the knee and can help to produce energy while the person walks.
[hana-code-insert name=’StumbleUpon’ /][hana-code-insert name=’Reddit’ /]This research has been done by researchers from the universities in U.K. including Cranfield University, University of Liverpool and University of Salford, and published online in the journal of Smart Materials and Structures.
The device is in the form of a disk placed on the knee, where four of the piezoelectric arms, referred to as bimorphs, are “plucked” by 72 plectrum, which is a plucking tool such as a guitar pick, as the leg moves. Electricity is generated every time these bimorphs are stressed. Scientists have generated about 2 milliwatts of electricity from their prototype. However, they are optimistic to develop up to 30 milliwatts after completion of the design, when it would be available for large-scale production and would be available at £10, or roughly $15.50, including 16-20 bimorphs to increase the power.
This device has been originally designed for military use. Although, the device is still not capable of generating electricity to charge the smartphones, requiring 20-1300 mW of energy but it could help to generate electricity for low-power GPS.
Via: The Verge
Michele Pozzi, Min S H Aung, Meiling Zhu, Richard K Jones and John Y Goulermas, (2012). The pizzicato knee-joint energy harvester: characterization with biomechanical data and the effect of backpack load. Smart Materials and Structures, doi:10.1088/0964-1726/21/7/075023