Washington, June 4 (ANI): The day may not be far when the batteries of your mobile phones will get automatically charged while you walk, thanks to a device being developed by Canadian researchers.
The Bionic Energy Harvester will attach to a knee brace, and capture energy with each step.
It is reckoned that one minute of walking will be enough to generate 10 minutes of talk time on a cellular phone.
"It would surprise a lot of people to know that there is a lot of power available from the knee joint during walking. We're taking advantage of energy that's already being produced and wasted," the Christian Science Monitor quoted Max Donelan, a professor of biomedical physiology and kinesiology at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, as saying.
The researcher has revealed that the mechanism works much like the regenerative braking found in some hybrid cars, which capture kinetic energy that would otherwise dissipate as heat to drive a generator.
"Walking is a lot like stop-and-go driving," said Dr. Donelan.
While testing the device during a study, his team found that the subjects on a treadmill didn't notice using any extra exertion when it was turned on.
The researchers, however, were surprised to find that when the mechanism was turned off, the subjects did notice and in fact missed the assistance.
"For three or four strides they swung their legs a little faster (than normal)," Dr. Donelan said.
The researcher team at Bionic Power, a company he set up to develop and sell the device, expect to double the energy generated per step.
Donelan declined to say how much he thought the device would eventually cost.
And even though he knew that his device provided just a small fraction of the energy humans consume, he was upbeat that it might still be helpful.
"Human power won't replace other sources of energy, but we can use human power to cut down our use," he said. (ANI)