The Power Plant in Your Pants

With a title like that, how can I let this go by?

According to Information Week, a team of researchers from the University of Michigan, Simon Fraser University in Canada and the University of Pittsburgh have developed a knee brace that captures energy from a moving knee, similar to the way a Prius recharges its batteries from regenerative braking. The researchers call their new device a a “biomechanical energy harvester,” which, as the Infoweek reporter points out, is not a very snappy name. Hence the Power Plant in Your Pants recommendation.

So how much energy can be generated? Enough to “operate a portable GPS locator, a cell phone, a motorized prosthetic joint or an implanted neurotransmitter.” Right now their device is too heavy to be practical, it weighs 3 to 5 pounds, but the current model was really only designed to be proof of concept. They expect to have a light weight and slimmed down version ready in about 18 months.

You can check out the original news article on the biomechanical energy harvester at the BBC here, complete with video. The InformationWeek article (with the great title) is here.

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