A team of five engineering students at Rice University has created an energy generating leg brace that harnesses electricity from everyday walking, which may help power artificial hearts in future.
The device generates power with every bend of the knee. The energy produced by a motor attached to the joint of the brace is funneled into a battery.
AdvertisementThe leg brace produces 4 watts of energy as the wearer walks and feeds it to a lithium-ion battery.
The project was sponsored by Cameron International, an engineering firm that partnered with the Texas Heart Institute to develop artificial heart technology.
"We added a power conversion and storage system that was not present in the device at the beginning of this year. So we're getting about the same power output, but we're also able to convert it to direct current and store that into something useful," Hutson Chilton, one of the engineering student.
The energy produced by the device is not enough for the artificial heart. The team expects a future version to supply energy wirelessly to medical devices.