Eco Factor: Kinetic energy generated from marching soldiers to be converted into energy.
A soldier’s backpack typically weighs about 75kgs, out of which 10kgs is the weight of the batteries that fuel the electronics present in the gear. Scientists at the University of Leeds are focusing on ways to reduce the weight of the backpacks, by not making them carry less gear, but by eliminating batteries from the package.
The $1.5 million plan will focus on ways to convert human energy into usable electricity for military field applications. The plan is a part of a much larger “battery-free” soldier project that includes the development of solar and body heat harnessing technologies for the military.
The system will be based on the use of piezoelectric devices that includes knee wraps and backpack straps with crystals and ceramic materials. The devices convert the energy of motion into usable electricity which can then be used to power electronics. In addition to being unobtrusive, the devices will provide support for the soldier, with the knee braces capable of cushioning the impact when legs are bent and so on.