Their new device consists of a housed motor attached to the knee. As the joint bends, the motor turns much faster than the leg motion, generating power. This energy is then funneled through cables to a lithium-ion storage battery attached to the waist. But the energy may someday “go straight back into one’s body,” according to the researchers.
The brace produces 4 watts of energy as the wearer walks. The engineers pushed the technology forward, adding a power conversion and storage system that enables it to “convert the power into direct current and store that into something useful.”
Why choose the knee as opposed to a less obtrusive area like the ankle? Because, explain the students, the technology used with rotational energy produces a lot more power.
Celia Sampol has been a journalist for more than 15 years. She worked in Brussels and Washington for national medias (Agence France Presse, Liberation, Europolitics). She's the editor-in-chief of NauticExpo e-magazine and MedicalExpo e-magazine.