Walk, run to charge battlefield gadgets

A SOLDIER will soon be able to power up his iPad just by being on the move.

ST Kinetics is working on an innovation which will let soldiers harvest energy through a pair of wearable braces while walking or running.

The energy generated will then be converted into electricity to charge battlefield gadgets such as communications sets and handheld touchscreens.

Dubbed the Bionic Regenerative Active Energy System - Braces in short - the device can harvest up to 6 watts of power.

This means a 30-minute walk can charge a Samsung S4 smartphone to 40 per cent capacity.

The energy can be stored in a supercapacitor designed as a brace that is wrapped around the soldier's thighs and legs, said ST Kinetics, the land systems arm of ST Engineering.

Its smart solutions engineer Francis Yap De Tao said the contraption will help halve the amount of batteries that soldiers need to lug around.

It can also protect and minimise any strain on the soldier's leg by working as a physical brace.

"This helps them to fight fatigue while out in the field."

Although similar energy harvesting technologies are being tested in Australia and Canada, ST Engineering's version is the first in Singapore.

Work is under way to build a prototype of the brace to be tested, and The Straits Times understands that it would take at least a year or two before it can be put in the field.

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