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Make Use of Muscle’s Negative Work

March 2, 2008

This was actually an old news. I was away and back, and then sick, so I haven’t updated the blog for a while. Anyway,


When you walk, one set of muscles drives your legs forward, while another does “negative work” by pulling in the opposite direction to control your stride. Now, researchers in Canada and the US have built a device that can convert this negative work into electricity. They claim that the device, which straps onto the leg around the knee, can generate 5 W of electricity — enough to power several mobile phones or even an artificial limb.

Sound great isn’t it? However, it’s not as perfect as you may think. The prototype of this knee brace weights 1.5 kg. Considering the energy cost of carrying the device, this knee brace is not more efficient than other methods for generating electricity from walking. However, Max Donelan, leading the research team at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, said they are currently working on the next-generation device with the half of the weight of the prototype, reducing the extra effort required for wearing the brace to as little as 15 W.

Well, I think they may want to consider it as a device for people to lose their weight. That will be more attractive in the market place. 😉

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