Self Charging Backpack Powers Your Gear

Lets face it, we all have more and more gear that requires batteries these days. Our GPS units need to be recharged, we have headlamps that require juice, and who the heck leaves home without their iPod these days? The problem with taking all that gear into the backcountry is that you either need to carry extra batteries, or find a way to charge your items that have their own batteries built in. Your GPS doesn’t do much good when you’re out on the trail and it dies on you, and lets not even go into that same situation with our iPods. *shudder*

Well, where there’s a problem, a solution is soon to follow. In this case, it comes in the form of a backpack with “piezoelectric shoulder straps”. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “isn’t the Piezoelectric Era when all the t-rex’s died out?” Well, in this case, piezoelectric is a process in which otherwise wasted ambient energy is converted into electric energy which can then be used to power our devices. In this case, the rubbing of the shoulder straps from a backpack as we hike is enough to generate power for all those wonderful gadgets we need to take along with us these days.

The system has been demonstrated by engineers from Michigan Technological University and Arizona State University, who say that the straps would work like any other backpack strap, but they would also harvest energy as we move. Furthermore, they hope to create similar energy from other gear, such as shoes, that could be used to power our electronics.

Of course, this is mostly a theory at the moment, and there are no working prototypes just yet. But even now, I’m sure someone is working on a pack to take advantage of this technology. Someone over at The North Face most likely. After all, they did come up with the heated hydration system.

This story comes via The Gear Junkie who picked it up from Yes, a physics site, so you know I couldn’t have found this one on my own. 😉

Kraig Becker

8 thoughts on “Self Charging Backpack Powers Your Gear”

  1. Interesting to say the least. I’m just curious what the weight on this bad boy is going to be. With my luck, it’ll be more than I’ll want to tote around 🙁

  2. Actually, it’s not likely to weigh any more than a regular pack, unless it has something added to the inside to actually store the energy. My guess is that you plug in the iPod/GPS/Whatever and it charges as you go though.

    I wouldn’t expect it to weigh a whole lot more than a standard pack though.

  3. That’s good. In that case, I may look into that in some of my preparations for different things I’ve got in the works down the road 😀

  4. Hey Tom,

    Glancing through your blogs earlier, I see you’re looking to go ultralight. If that’s the case, who knows if something like this would fit your needs. You’ll be cutting the ends off your toothbrush and cooking utensils just to lighten up further. 😉

    Cool blogs by the way. I intend to look at them in more detail when I get the chance!

  5. Yeah, I’ve got my ultralight gear list pretty well worked out for most of my trips. However, some of my longer trips will require a level of comfort that this pack idea might work well for. Who knows 😉

    And please, stop by and check them out. The Ultralight one is mostly to share info, but the Trifecta one is my baby at the moment 😀

  6. Hey Kraig, Liked the review. Cracked up reading about the T-rex, That was great! You don’t see much humor thrown in to reviews. I guess that is why I like yours so much.

    The pack itself sounds interesting. Am just wondering how much energy this stores..and if you could do this to “charge” your items, why not just do it to run them? Kind of like a walking electrical

  7. It’ll be interesting to see if these go into production if they do actually store the energy or just charge on the go. It’s a sweet concept though. Technology really is doing some amazing things.

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