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Old 02-07-2008, 07:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Very clever knee brace generator - 5 watts while walking - no extra effort.

From the BBC: Knee dynamo taps 'people power'



This is really clever. The designers use a computer and potentiometer to determine when the lower leg is just about at the limit of extension (before the foot comes down), then it engages the generator to halt the extension - something your hamstring normally does.

So they've in effect made a generator that doesn't demand any extra effort on the part of the walker.

The inventors liken it to regenerative braking in hybrid cars: rather than "wasting" hamstring muscle power by "braking" the extending lower leg at the end of each step, the computer engages the generator and captures energy, which slows the leg extension and does some of the work of the hamstring.

There's a good video as well: http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/c...&bbram=1&asb=1

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Old 02-07-2008, 07:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I wonder what the negative effects would be for using this thing in the longterm? Could your body forget how to use the hamstring properly and need rehabilitation? It happens when you put certain portions of your body into a cast, and it can take many weeks to recover fully.
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Old 02-07-2008, 08:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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GenKreton -

Quote:
Originally Posted by GenKreton View Post
I wonder what the negative effects would be for using this thing in the longterm? Could your body forget how to use the hamstring properly and need rehabilitation? It happens when you put certain portions of your body into a cast, and it can take many weeks to recover fully.
Conversely, if you forget about the energy, it sounds like a hamstring replacement. Are there medical situations where the hamstring can't be repaired? Could this gizmo do all of the job instead? Hmmmm, maybe Borgs are just misunderstood, .

But, I do think the "exercisor" electricity generators are the better model to follow. This sounds like a passive energy model. But, at least with walking, this is something (almost) anyone can do.

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Old 02-08-2008, 12:13 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I wouldn't say it doesn't put any effort on the body... But I guess it's safe to say that it doesn't add to fatigue...

Really cool though
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Old 02-08-2008, 08:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I just heard about this on NPR's Science Friday today.

Cool idea!

Would be great for recharging everyone's cell phones and PDAs.

Another possibility is adapting this technology for long-term space travel use, like the mission to Mars. Keep people exercised during that long flight.
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Old 02-08-2008, 11:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Put in some ultracaps, make it a motor/generator, and give me a little kick near the end of the stride before absorbing energy on the next extension. Make walking easier & faster. For "free". :P
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Old 02-09-2008, 12:38 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Put in some ultracaps, make it a motor/generator, and give me a little kick near the end of the stride before absorbing energy on the next extension. Make walking easier & faster. For "free". :P
Ha! Literally a human electric hybrid

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