A concept machine that harvests energy from human motion could be pivotal in powering medical devices.
Science (more specifically the Law of the Conservation of Energy) states that energy cannot be created or destroyed – only transformed. This means that everything you do, whether you think about it or not, is involved in the transformation of energy. Usually, however, this goes unnoticed as the energy is wasted – perhaps in the form of heat.
In an effort to make better use of this energy transformation, a team of engineering students at Rice University has turned an everyday activity, walking, into an electricity supplier.
PediPower is a lever-based device that attaches to the heel of a sneaker. When the wearer walks, the device transmits the torque created from the heel hitting the ground into a small generator. This energy transfer creates enough electricity to charge a small battery in a limited capacity.
While PediPower is in its early stages of development, the idea behind the device is to create a perpetually available supply of electricity for medical devices that are carried or implanted on your person (i.e. pacemaker). Relying less on batteries as your sole power source, an electricity-generating device that uses natural human motion could provide for more efficient and effective operation of personal medical devices.
There are still hurdles to reaching the optimum application of this idea, not the least of which is the concern that individuals in need of such medical devices may have limited mobility, but it is an interesting branch into “alternative” energy sources.
Check out the team’s video below to see PediPower in action: