New energy source: your legs

These days, the really badass gadgets are the ones that can be powered by renewable energy and can powered even while you’re on the go. That’s why things like photovoltaic bags leave people quite enthralled.

Now there’s something that people can easily use and at the same time generate enough power to keep mobile phones or music players juiced up: the Biomechanical Energy Harvester.

Six volunteers wore the braces while they walked on treadmills. Embedded sensors detected the angle and velocity of their legs, switching the device on only during the braking phase of each swing. As the team reports tomorrow in Science, the braces produced 5 watts of power–enough to run 10 cell phones. And although it took a bit more effort to swing the added weight of the brace–the prototype weighs 1.6 kg–the walkers didn’t have to work harder when the power-harvesting mechanism was turned on.

1.6 kg! That’s pretty hefty, although it will be really nice to pump up your legs and your gadgets at the same time!

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