Backpack Energy Harvester with Human Walking Model

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Virginia Tech

The objective of this thesis is to design, analyze, and fabricate an innovative backpack energy harvester for human walking. To model human walking with backpack energy harvester, a simple dual-mass model has been developed and studied first. Dual-mass model for three types of distinct harvesters were investigated, pure damping, traditional rack pinion energy harvester and our MMR based energy harvester. A comparison in the output power and human comfort between the three types of harvesters is discussed. However, the dual-mass model could not effectively represent human walking in real situation with sinusoidal input, like M shaped Ground Reaction Force (GRF), vertical Center of Mass (COM) motion, etc. Thus, a bipedal walking model has been proposed to simulate human walking with backpack harvester.

Experiments were conducted to compare power output and efficiency of MMR based backpack energy harvester with traditional rack pinion backpack energy harvester, and verify conclusions from the bipedal walking model that the proposed backpack energy harvester using mechanical motion rectifier (MMR) mechanism has larger power output than traditional backpack energy harvester at different walking speed. In human treadmill test, subjects were asked to wear the backpack frame which embedded with harvesters walking on a treadmill. Two walking speed, 3mph and 3.5mph, and four resistor values has been tested. The test results showed that the MMR based backpack energy harvester generated more power regardless of resistor values and walking speed. Up to 4.84W average power and instant power of 12.8W could be obtained while the subject walking on the treadmill at 3.5mph speed with MMR based backpack energy harvester.

Energy harvesting, Mechanical motion rectifier (MMR), Backpack energy harvester