Designed by the US military branch company Bionic power this militarized exo skeleton can harvest electrical power through kinetic energy as the soldier dons the suit and begins to walk the suit produces 10-12 watts of electricity the technology works in a similar manner to regenerative breaking occurs in hybrid cars. Every step done by the user the microprocessors inside the leg compartments of the exoskeleton analyze the amount of power required to support the soldier’s movement. After the analyzing is complete the suit then determines the precise amount of power that is needed to be generated at the maximum capacity that will use the minimum metabolic cost. Over a period of walking for one hour statics indicated that enough charge is produced by both legs to power four smart phones at full charge.
As this is military technology designed to be worn in the field it must be able to provide mission benefits and reliability during combat the power source is reliable for unlimited duration thus there is no possibility it will malfunction unless it is damaged. Depending on the terrain the soldier is in on a mission fatigue is reduce as the equipment is support by the exoskeleton the energy levels required are decreased when moving downhill or uphill maintaining combat effectiveness. As the power is generated by the suit alone there is no requirement for replaceable batteries this eliminates the dependency on limited power sources this increases mission flexibility, duration and potential effectiveness.
The features of the Power Walk are based on the design and how it interacts with the body’s natural movement which is critical for flexibility whilst being in combat. The four bar hinge follows the natural motion of the knee by monitoring the femoral rollback and tibial rotation as the knee flexes.The unimpeded mobility provides limitless flexion in all stances from prone, squat or kneeling and when it is not required to be used it is capable of being folded this way it can be carried as compact transportation. The dual mode connectivity acts as a battery charger when plugged directly into an alternate battery system using SMBus to communicate and control power capacity. Adjustable size is important if soldiers are to use the exoskeleton as it must available to all body sizes this is achieved by having changeable straps and shells to meet the required fit for an individual soldier.
The gearbox found in the knee compartment of the exoskeleton transmits the power that is harvested from the muscle movement to a generator the electronics then covert the energy into electricity. The functionality of the exoskeleton is based on the muscle performances when in motion the muscles around the ankles and hips use positive kinetic energy to propel us forward whilst the muscles located in the knees mainly perform the negative motion. The PowerWalk harvests the energy generated by the negative work this helps the muscles support the heavy weight the soldiers must carry as the electricity is generated the PowerWalk takes the strain without adding metabolic cost.