Courtney Allan


The new device that charges your phone while you’re on the go

The new device that charges your phone while you’re on the go

Researchers from Queen’s University in Canada have developed an energy-harvesting device that exploits the side to side movement of a backpack that will generate electricity while you walk.

The trial version would be suitable for people who work or trek to remote areas and the device has enough power to deploy an emergency beacon or a GPS.

The researchers experimented with seven different conditions for energy harvesting and found that a load of nine kilograms generated the optimum amount of power without any extra effort to the wearer.

The nine kilograms would be made up of clothes, food, a stove, fuel, a sleeping bag and a tent which was packed for a long trek.

The weight of the device and the backpack adds another five kilos. The setup in total produces about .22 watts of electricity which is enough to power GPS and emergency beacons.

In the paper, the researchers Jean-Paul Martin and Qingguo Li calculate that adding more weight to the backpack will help it generate more power. 

“Modelling predicts that an increase in electrical power production could be achieved by increasing the weight carried,” they write.

“If generating over (one Watt) of electrical power was desired for powering higher demand devices, such as talking or browsing the internet with a cell phone, our model indicates that over 20 kilograms of weight would need to be carried.”

In total, you would be carrying 14 kilograms on your back to generate enough power for your GPS or emergency beacon.

Although this might seem like too much weight for most people, it’s next to nothing for soldiers who are used to carrying at least 27 kilograms and as much as 45 kilograms on their back for long-haul missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.