The sector of devices that are powered by energy collected from body movement is always active and new research, this time published in Applied Physics Letters, proves it.
Researchers at the University of Hong Kong have developed a device that can be attached to the knee and can collect up to 1.6 microwatts of power simply by using the movement of the knee itself while walking. It is a light device (it weighs only 307 grams) and therefore the user does not have to make any effort but simply perform the walk. According to the researchers themselves, the energy collected is sufficient to supply small-scale electronic devices such as health monitoring devices or GPS trackers.
The first thought goes to all those people who have to cross dangerous areas that lack phone coverage, for example explorers, mountaineers, trekkers and the like.
The researchers used a “smart” macrofibre material that basically generates some energy from any movement, even a bend, to which it is subjected.
Every time the knee flexes, so at every step, the device uses the biomechanical energy to feed itself.
The area of the knee chosen by the researchers is no coincidence: this ligament is one of those that develops the most articulatory movement ever and that can therefore be better exploited in this sense.