Canada-based Bionic Power has been contracted to supply its PowerWalk Kinetic Energy Harvester to the Office of the Secretary of Defense for field trials under the US military Joint Infantry Company Prototype (JIC-P) programme.
Under the $1.25m contract, the company will supply low-volume production harvesters for the US Army.
Bionic Power CEO Yad Garcha said: "Military organisations around the world are looking for ways to take weight off the backs of their troops.
"Wearing one of our PowerWalk harvesters reduces battery weight while providing continuous life-saving power in the field for communications, navigation and optics."
The JIC-P programme aims to develop a system that reduces logistical and resupply challenges, and increases self-sustainability for dismounted infantry.
The light-weight, leg-mounted PowerWalk exoskeleton has been designed to harvest energy from soldiers’ walking action and reduce muscle fatigue from walking downhill.
With every stride, the PowerWalk’s on-board microprocessors analyse the wearer’s gait using Bionic Power’s control software to determine when to generate maximum power.
Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center US Army systems engineer Noel Soto said: "A soldier typically carries 16-20lb in batteries on a 72h mission.
"If a soldier can generate power with wearable energy-harvesting devices, it means we can not only reduce the weight on his or her back, we also minimise the unit’s reliance on field resupply, making it possible for us to extend the duration and effectiveness of a mission."
Under the contract, Bionic Power’s PowerWalk device will be tested by the Marine Corps and the army in 2017.