Navigation Links
Harnessing Human Energy for Medical Good
Date:2/7/2008

Device could use act of walking to power artificial limbs, insulin pumps, pacemakers,,,,

THURSDAY, Feb. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Anyone who has ever watched a frenetic toddler bouncing around a room has wondered if there might be some way to harvest all of that energy.

While no one has quite figured out how to bottle youthful exuberance, a team of Canadian and U.S. researchers has found a way to capture human energy so it could help people with medical devices such as prosthetic limbs, artificial pacemakers or insulin pumps power their devices using their own energy.

The concept is as simple as it is elegant: The energy is produced and harnessed through walking.

"The main idea is to harvest energy from walking in a manner that you can get electricity without increasing effort," explained study author Max Donelan, a professor in the school of kinesiology at the Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, and chief science officer of Bionic Power Inc., a company formed to develop the energy-harvesting device.

"To design useful ways of producing power for people, you have to understand physiology and take advantage of some of the uneconomical ways we use our bodies," explained Donelan. "Stop and go driving is inefficient, but sometimes you have to do it. You can't always drive on the highway."

Similarly, he said, people have to stop and go all the time. "It's inefficient and unfortunate, but we can take advantage of it for energy harvesting," he noted.

Much like a hybrid car that captures energy that is normally dissipated, the biomechanical energy harvester captures energy from the deceleration phase of walking. To do this, the harvester actually assists with the slowing down phase of a step.

"The generator helps slow the motion of the knee at the right time, and you can get substantial electricity with minimal effort," said Donelan.

An adult walking at a relatively fast pace wearing the harvester -- which looks like a knee brace and weighs just over three pounds -- can generate 13 watts of electricity in one minute. That means you could get about six minutes of laptop computer time for one minute of fast walking. A low-effort walk would produce about five watts of power, which would give you roughly two and half minutes of laptop time, according to Donelan.

Results of the study are published in the Feb. 8 issue of Science.

The potential uses for such a device are many and varied, he said. Apart from powering laptops and cell phones in remote places, the harvester could be used to power pacemakers or implanted insulin pumps. It could also be used to help move robotic limbs.

The technology's current uses are limited by its expense, though Donelan said as they continue to work on the device, they hope its weight and price will eventually come down.

Dr. Gerard Varlotta, director of sports rehabilitation at the New York University Medical Center's Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine/Hospital for Joint Diseases, said he thought the study was very interesting, but he "wasn't convinced that it's practical."

Varlotta said he's also concerned that if the device helps to slow the muscle down, if it's used extensively, it could actually cause the muscle to atrophy, because the muscle isn't being used in the way it's naturally used.

If it's used in people that already have a problem walking, such as someone with multiple sclerosis, "it could weaken the muscle further and accentuate the original problem," said Varlotta.

"It would be interesting to see the effects this device will have with long-term use," he said. "They'll have to exercise caution when taking this from normal muscle to pathological [diseased] muscle."

More information

To learn more about robotic limbs that someday might be able to use this type of energy, visit the Society for Neuroscience.



SOURCES: Max Donelan, Ph.D., professor, school of kinesiology, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, and chief science officer, Bionic Power Inc., Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Gerard Varlotta, M.D., director, sports rehabilitation, New York University Medical Center, Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine/Hospital for Joint Diseases, and clinical associate professor, New York University School of Medicine; Feb. 8, 2008, Science


'/>"/>
Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Embryonic Stem Cells Repair Human Heart
2. Embryonic Human Stem Cells May Help Repair Heart Muscle, Lab Study Shows
3. Human Papilloma Virus vaccines may decrease chances of oral cancer
4. Investigational Agent Targeting Metabotropic Glutamate 2/3 Receptors Demonstrates Antipsychotic Activity in Humans, Study in Nature Medicine Finds
5. MassMutual Promotes Debra Palermino to Senior Vice President of Human Resources
6. Toddler Study Proves Humans Outsmart Apes
7. Human C-reactive protein regulates myeloma tumor cell growth and survival
8. Altered expression of ultraconserved noncoding RNAs linked to human leukemias and carcinomas
9. AtriCure Reports First Human Implant of the Cosgrove-Gillinov Left Atrial Appendage Occlusion System
10. New class of RNA molecules may be important in human cancer
11. The Humana Foundation and Libraries for the Future Launch Health Literacy Pilot in Atlanta
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Harnessing Human Energy for Medical Good
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... A revolution is ... emergency ambulance transport experience for the millions of people who require these medical ... the taxi industry through the use of technology. Now, SmartEMS has put forth ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2016 , ... PawPaws ... a new product that was developed to enhance the health of felines. The formula ... , The two main herbs in the PawPaws Cat Kidney Support Supplement ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... The temporary closing of Bruton Memorial Library on June 21 due ... up a new, often overlooked aspect of head lice: the parasite’s ability to live away ... a common occurrence, but a necessary one in the event that lice have simply gotten ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, Secretary of the Maryland Department of ... recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health promotion. , The Wellness at Work ... Symposium at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. iHire was one of 42 businesses ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... , ... Marcy was in a crisis. Her son James, eight, was out of control. Prone ... physically. , “When something upset him, he couldn’t control his emotions,” remembers Marcy. “If ... at my other children and say he was going to kill them. If we ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016  MedSource announced ... as its e-clinical software solution of choice.  This ... best possible value to their clients by offering ... The preferred relationship establishes nowEDC as the EDC ... for MedSource,s full-service clients.  "nowEDC has long been ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Any dentist who has made an implant ... process. Many of them do not even offer this as ... high laboratory costs involved. And those who ARE able to ... a high cost that the majority of today,s patients would ... Parsa Zadeh , founder of Dental Evolutions Inc. and inventor ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Ill. , June 23, 2016  In a startling report ... are failing their residents by lacking a comprehensive, proven plan to ... a definitive ranking of how states are tackling the worst ... to only four states – Kentucky , ... Vermont . Of the 28 failing states, three ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: