Bionic Power Announces Three Contracts
September 21, 2012
Bionic Power is pleased to announce that it has secured three contracts with key defence stakeholders: the United States Army, the Canadian Department of Defence and DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). U.S. Army and Canadian Forces contracts will further enhance the PowerWalk™ allowing the soldiers to recharge battery powered devices in the field by harvesting energy through walking.
PowerWalk™ uses principles similar to regenerative braking in hybrid cars to unobtrusively generate electricity from the natural motion of walking and then use it to charge a wide range of portable battery-powered devices. It resembles an athletic knee brace that will weigh about 750 grams (1.7 lbs) per leg. With a device on each leg, a user walking at a comfortable speed generates an average of 12 watts of electricity. At this rate, a little over one hour of walking generates enough electricity to fully charge four mobile phones.
The US Army contract is through Natick Soldier Research Development, & Engineering Center and is supported by the U.S. Army Project Manager Soldier Warrior (PM SWAR). This contract is the result of open tendering through a Request For Information publication titled "Soldier-Borne Energy Harvesting Power Sources Technologies for the Dismounted Soldier".
Bionic Power is also announcing funding from the Defence Industry Research Program (DIRP), a program run by Defence R&D Canada. The objective of this contract is to further reduce effort required by users to harvest power and, more importantly, to greatly increase assistive harvesting when walking downhill. Assistive harvesting makes it easier for users to walk downhill thus reducing muscle fatigue and potentially decreasing the incidence of injury. These developments may also increase the amount of power generated from the current levels.
For the DARPA contract, Bionic Power is collaborating with the innovative robotics company Boston Dynamics. DARPA has a mandate through a program called Warrior Web "to prevent and reduce musculoskeletal injuries caused by dynamic events typically found in the war-fighter's environment". Bionic Power will research how their technology can help capture some of the power that is created during walking to assist the soldier in carrying heavy loads.
These contracts are a major step forward for Bionic Power as they demonstrate the commitment of key stakeholders to invest in Bionic Power's technology and assist in development, commercialization and deployment of the PowerWalk™. At the completion of the U.S. Army and DIRP contract, Bionic Power will have a product that is slimmer, lighter, more comfortable and more attractive. The base technology then will also be ready for a professional product targeting first-responders, forest fire fighters, geologists, surveyors, drug enforcement personnel and other professionals that depend on battery-powered technology when away from the power grid.
Bionic Power Inc., based in Burnaby, B.C., develops power harvesting products for dismounted solders, professionals using battery operated devices away from the grid, and consumers.