Computers & Mobile Energy & Sustainability Technology Wearables
Piezoelectric concept backpack

EnergyHarvestingBackpack.png

Researchers at Michigan Technological University, Arizona State University and NanoSonic Inc. are working on harvesting the ambient energy of walking and carrying a backpack with polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), a nylon-like material with piezoelectric properties. This would be great for multi-day hiking, since you wouldn’t have carry heavy batteries to keep your GPS or cellphone juiced! – [via] Link.

8 thoughts on “Piezoelectric concept backpack

  1. I like where they are going with this. While they’re at it, why not use this technology in every vibration dampening and force-arresting device in a car? Replace your seat belts, engine mounts, and struts with this technology and maybe you’ll create enough spare juice to run an oven as you drive to work.

    More realistically, they could add a thin lining of this stuff to a tire and use it to recharge the battery used to transmit tire pressure data to your car’s computer.

  2. Some of those “thought of it before” examples are different – they take energy by damping what used to be a spring system that is largely energy neutral, so you end up working harder (eg. your shoes absorb the impact as before, but no-longer spring you back off the ground afterwards, so it’s more like walking in sand) – no free lunch, etc. In contrast, the backpack concept has interesting potential because if done right, it can be damping mostly energy that was working against you (hindering you) due to inefficiencies of the walking motion, thus allowing a net gain in efficiency.
    (Shock absorbers suck their energy right out of the gas tank, but currently they’re just dumping all that energy you just purchased as heat, so dumping it as useable electricity instead would be a gain in efficiency if the savings could pay for the extra componentry).

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Becky Stern is a Content Creator at Autodesk/Instructables, and part time faculty at New York’s School of Visual Arts Products of Design grad program. Making and sharing are her two biggest passions, and she's created hundreds of free online DIY tutorials and videos, mostly about technology and its intersection with crafts. Find her @bekathwia on YouTube/Twitter/Instagram.

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