Daily Mail UK: US Army wants to use a soldier’s FOOTSTEPS to power electronics and let commanders track them while they are on the battlefield
- US Army is developing insoles with sensors to power electronic devices
- The heel pushes down on the insole and hits a miniature rotational mechanism
- This then turns a small generator and creates an electric charge
- The electricity would also allow commanders to track a soldier’s location
Soldiers are increasingly reliant on electronic devices in battle and scientists believe they have found a way to keep them charged without the need of an outlet.
The US Army is working with Robotic Research LLC to design sensor fitted insoles that would generate electricity each time the wearer takes a step.
The technology would not only power technology, but also allows commanders to track their soldiers in GPS-denied environments.
Robotic Research LLC, a leading provider of autonomy and robotic technologies, was recently awarded a $16.5 million contract from the US Army to develop the sensors using its technology called WarLoc.
The insole technology was found in a patent out of the Army’s C5ISR Center, which will create electricity through the wearer’s footsteps.
Soldiers are increasingly reliant on electronic devices in battle and scientists believe they have found a way to keep them charged without the need of an outlet. The US Army is working with Robotic Research LLC to design sensor fitted insoles that would generate electricity each time the wearer takes a step
When a soldier’s heel pushes down on the insole, the force hits a miniature rotational level mechanism and turns a small generator, which creates an electric charge, the Army Times reported.
Nathan Sharpes, a C5ISR Center mechanical engineer who developed the patent, told techlinkcenter.org: ‘We embedded an energy-harvesting mechanism into a combat boot heel insole so that each time a soldier’s heel strikes it activates a generator, which spins to produce energy.’
The US military is constantly looking for new ways to produce electricity for troops on the battlefield.
In 2017, scientists were testing ways to lighten the load created by batteries, which are often as heavy as the equipment they keep charged.
When a soldier’s heel pushes down on the insole, the force hits a miniature rotational level mechanism and turns a small generator, which creates an electric charge
The researchers found one of their experimental materials was generating high amounts of electricity when in contact with water.
The revelation could provide new ways for soldiers to power equipment on the battlefield as well as commercial products to power our electronic gadgets.
Laboratory at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Aberdeen, Maryland, stumbled upon the surprising property after an aluminium based powder began to bubble in water.
They soon realized the reaction was the product of hydrolysis, a process which breaks down water into it its constituent parts of oxygen and hydrogen.
The hydrogen that is given off can be used in a fuel cell.
And the team put this principal into practice by powering a small radio-controlled tank with the powder and water reaction.
Moments after mixing the powder with a small amount of water, a bubbling reaction produced a great deal of hydrogen, which was then used to power the model around the laboratory.
And in 2016, the US Marines announced they were testing new pants that would provide power on the go.
Called PowerWalk, this light-weight, leg-mounted design harvests energy from the natural action of walking.
The US military is constantly looking for new ways to produce electricity for troops on the battlefield. In 2016, the US Marines announced they were testing new pants that would provide power on the go.
Users can generate 10 to 12 watts while wearing the device and after an hour-long walk, they can create enough electricity to charge four smartphones.
PowerWalk is the brainchild of Canada-based Bionic Power, which developed the exoskeleton to help reduce the number of batteries soldiers need to carry on missions to provide more space for essential field gear.
‘A soldier typically carries 16-20lbs in batteries on a 72-hour mission,’ says Noel Soto, U.S. Army Systems Engineer at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center.
‘If a soldier can generate power with wearable energy-harvesting devices, it means we can not only reduce the weight on his or her back, we also minimize the unit’s reliance on field resupply, making it possible for us to extend the duration and effectiveness of a mission.’
A gearbox transforms the knee’s rotational speed to a higher speed for efficient power generation and a generator converts the mechanical power into electricity.
Then a ‘state-of-the-art power-conversion’ circuit converts the electricity for battery charging which gives proves the charge for Li-ion or NiMh batteries.
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