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VideoLab: Harvesting Biomechanical Energy

Like a hybrid car that generates electricity during braking, the device Donelan et al. developed generates electricity by assisting muscles in slowing down the leg just before it straightens out and the foot lands on the ground. That requires much less effort than conventional human power-generation -- about 1/8th the effort -- and people walking with one device on each leg produced an average of 5 watts of electricity, which is about 10 times that of shoe-mounted devices. The device churns out enough power, potentially, to serve as an "on board" charging system for power-assisted prosthetic limbs and other portable medical devices.

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Resource Type: Journal article/Issue, Video, Diagram
Audience Level: Undergraduate lower division 13-14, Undergraduate upper division 15-16, Graduate

Author and Copyright

Authors and Editors: J.M. Donelan of School of Kinesiology, Simon Fraser University (SFU), Q. Li of School of Kinesiology, Simon Fraser University (SFU), J.A. Hoffer of School of Kinesiology, Simon Fraser University (SFU), D.J. Weber of Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Pittsburgh, A.D. Kuo of Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan
Publisher: AAAS
Format: text/html
Copyright and other restrictions: Yes
Cost: No


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