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SigAct Article - SPaRK June 2011

Departments Team up to Evaluate Biomechanical Energy Harvester Prototype: Drs. Bill Brechue and Bob Gregory from DPE (Center for Physical Development Excellence – CPDE) and Dr. Becky Zifchock from D/CME (Center for Innovation and Engineering – CIE) completed testing of the Soldier Power Regeneration Kit (SPaRK). SPaRK is a biomechanical energy harvester that started as a capstone project in D/CME and has been further developed by an industry partner (SpringActive, Inc.) under the sponsorship of the Natick Soldier Research and Development Center (SRDEC). The device is strapped to the boot, and takes advantage of ankle motions during the gait cycle to convert mechanical energy into electrical energy. This electrical energy can then be stored in battery packs. In theory, this renewable source of energy will reduce the number of batteries that a solder needs to carry into the field. Evaluation of the device included measurements of six participants’ walking patterns, forces, and metabolic consumption with and without the device. POC: Dr. Zifchock, and Dr. Brechue,
Energy harvester prototype attached to
volunteer and instrumented for testing.