27 March 2012 A short investigation of the effect of an energy harvesting backpack on the human gait
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Exploiting human motion for the purpose of energy harvesting has been a popular idea for some time. Many of the approaches proposed can be uncomfortable or they impose a significant burden on the person's gait. In the current paper a hardware in-the-loop simulator of an energy harvesting backpack is employed in order to investigate the effect of a suspended-load backpack on the human gait. The idea is based on the energy produced by a suspended-load which moves vertically on a backpack while a person walks. The energy created from such a linear system can be maximised when it resonates with the walking frequency of the person. However, such a configuration can also cause great forces to be applied on the back of the user. The system which is presented here consists of a mass attached on a rucksack, which is controlled by a motor in order to simulate the suspended-load backpack. The advantage of this setup is the ability to test different settings, regarding the spring stiffness or the damping coefficient, of the backpack harvester, and study their effect on the energy harvesting potential, as well as on the human gait. The present contribution describes the preliminary results and analysis of the testing of the system with the help of nine male volunteers who carried it on a treadmill.
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Evangelos Papatheou, Peter Green, Vitomir Racic, James M. W. Brownjohn, Neil D. Sims, "A short investigation of the effect of an energy harvesting backpack on the human gait", Proc. SPIE 8341, Active and Passive Smart Structures and Integrated Systems 2012, 83410F (27 March 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.915524; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.915524

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