Pedestrian-Powered Medical Devices?
- Created: Monday, 20 May 2013
could happen someday, say a group of mechanical engineering students at Rice
University, Houston, TX. As a project required for graduation, four seniors
created PediPower shoes that extract and store energy with every step to power portable
electronics and, maybe even medical devices.
So the student team decided to create a
shoe-mounted generator. Working with the Motion Analysis Laboratory at Shriners
Hospital for Children in Houston, the team determined the force at the heel
delivered far more potential for power than any other part of the foot.Their devices, as currently designed, are too
big for day-to-day wear, but the prototypes developed met the benchmarks set by
Cameron, delivering an average of 400 milliwatts, enough to charge a battery,
in benchtop tests sending energy through wires to a belt-mounted battery pack.
A voltage regulator keeps it flowing steadily to the battery.The PediPower hits the ground before any other
part of the prototype shoe. A lever arm strikes first. It is attached to a
gearbox that replaces much of the shoe’s sole and turns the gears a little with
each step. The gears drive a motor mounted on the outside of the shoe that
generates electricity to send up to the battery.For now, the team would like to provide enough
power for cellphones and other portable electronics. But, Cameron has partnered
with the Texas Heart Institute to apply its expertise in moving fluids to a new
generation of artificial heart pumps, and the students hope their work will
contribute to that goal.Source