Wearable computing becomes self-generating

Bionic Power, a Canadian start-up company, announced last week that it is commercializing a device that will generate electricity from the natural motion of walking and use it to power a broad range of portable devices including iPods and wireless phones.

The Biomechanical Energy Harvester which resembles an orthopedic knee brace, can generate up to five watts of power without creating any noticeable effort for the wearer and is the focus of a peer-reviewed article in the February 8th edition of Science magazine.

Similar to the way a hybrid car can capture energy while moving, the biomechanical energy harvester captures energy from the deceleration phase of walking. The company says one minute of walking with the device could deliver enough power to support 10 minutes worth of "talk time" on a typical mobile phone.

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But most cell phone users only use them in the car while they are driving, and trying to hit me on the way home from work

I read something the other day similar to this about a car engine that charged itself while braking. They're great ideas, however impractical or inefficient. But at least we're headed in the right direction.

Alright! Now if/when Canada hosts the Olympics the athletes can power the whole thing themselves just by strapping these on before they compete. Magnificently spectacular.

For real though, it will be interesting to see how much wear these can take before they deteriorate to the point of uselessness. I'd like to see these go mainstream; any renewable energy source is a good thing for everyone, even if it is at a personal scale.

I heard on CBC Radio that the average soldier carries 20lbs of batteries for all of their electronic gear. A device like this could reduce their battery weight significantly. If the battery was constantly recharged then they would only need a lightweight battery.

My physics teacher showed a video from the BBC a few weeks ago on this (To demonstrate other uses for the dynamo).
It's a bit bulky and noisy;p.

But it's quite clever, since it only generates the electricity at a certain point in the stride, so you don't feel the extra resistance all the time.

Ehrr, isn't this the thing shown at discovery junior? It's actually something a child made up, tested, and patented in that show, really funny.

(RuudJacobs.NET said @ #2)
Ehrr, isn't this the thing shown at discovery junior? It's actually something a child made up, tested, and patented in that show, really funny.

Only if that episode aired more than 10 years ago:

"The Biomechanical Energy Harvester is the product of nearly a decade of research at British Columbia's Simon Fraser University, and is the focus of a growing intellectual-property portfolio."