Dielectric Elastomer Generators (DEG) offer an opportunity to capture the energy otherwise wasted from human motion. By integrating a DEG into the heel of standard footwear, it is possible to harness this energy to power portable devices. DEGs require substantial auxiliary systems which are commonly large, heavy and inefficient. A unique challenge for these low power generators is the combination of high voltage and low current. A void exists in the semiconductor market for devices that can meet these requirements. Until these become available, existing devices must be used in an innovative way to produce an effective DEG system. Existing systems such as the Bi-Directional Flyback (BDFB) and Self Priming Circuit (SPC) are an excellent example of this. The BDFB allows full charging and discharging of the DEG, improving power gained. The SPC allows fully passive voltage boosting, removing the priming source and simplifying the electronics. This paper outlines the drawbacks and benefits of active and passive electronic solutions for maximizing power from walking.
Patrin K. Illenberger, Udaya K. Madawala, and Iain A. Anderson, "Big power from walking," Proc. SPIE 9798, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) 2016, 97980V (Presented at SPIE Smart Structures and Materials + Nondestructive Evaluation and Health Monitoring: March 23, 2016; Published: 15 April 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2218986.
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