Breathing motion powered USB charger

When your batteries run low you can use your body to recharge them. This contraption generates power from chest expansion while breathing. [Jmengel] used some gears from old optical drives to boost the RPM generated by a belt around your torso that he calls a thorax expansion coupler. When you breath in, that belt pulls on a plate that spins the gears, ultimately rotating a small motor. The AC current generated by that motor is run through a rectifier and a boost converter, then fed to a charging circuit.

Does it work? Not really, as this only outputs around 50 mW. But we like the twinge of Dune nostalgia we get looking at it. Wouldn’t this be a perfect addition to a stillsuit?


  1. I remember reading somewhere that your lifespan is shortened by wearing a corset because of the extra pressure being put on your body.

    However I really don’t think that this device is directly harmful. I’m just saying it.

  2. BiOzZ says:

    hm … no video or information on how hard it is to breathe with it on?
    if its practical it would be interesting to turn it around and stick it in a backpack with a buckle strap that goes around the chest!

    maybe also some sort of bouncing weight based power generator also as i did notice my backpacks bounced allot back in high school XD

  3. BiOzZ says:

    @Henrik Pedersen
    corcets are harmful becaus eof what they do to your ribs and organs

  4. matbed says:

    @ BiOzZ: I made one of these a few years ago when i first spotted this on instructables and it can be quite hard to expand your lungs enough.
    I found to get a fast enough return on te mecanism between breaths, the rubber band was almost too tight to breath normally.
    Also there is a charging device that you put in your backpack that works a bit like a shake up torch.

    I found a slightly better idea for this is to tie it between your feet for when you walk around but your feet are tied together = trip hazard.

  5. NatureTM says:

    Put this on all the coma patients in a hospital and make them power their own vital monitors!

  6. strider_mt2k says:

    He is wearing it desert fashion…

  7. CutThroughStuffGuy says:

    You could make a smaller one of these that goes around a man’s penis.

  8. Nick says:

    Why not attach two of these to your upper legs/bum and tie the other ends to the back of your shoes? I imagine that your legs generate much more force than breathing does.

  9. Hacksaw says:

    The incessant desire to turn humans into machines annoys me to no end. All of this to make your ipod run five minutes longer?interesting concept and at least the government didn’t spend billions developing it.

  10. Addidis says:

    This is an awesome idea. Although there is some weight in the “hard to breath” statements , compare this to solar panels that use very close to the amount of energy they produce in their life times, to produce. I wish the government WAS spending our billions developing energy sources that dont destroy the infinitesimal rock we call home.

    I estimate less then 2 years before a shoe company realizes we would buy shoes with similar devices that you can plug a device into for emergency power. Think those flash lights you shake, magnet and a coil some sort of storage entity and a usb jack. Some creative use of the new buck boost devices on the market and cutting edge caps , enerchips and other energy storage mediums mean this , and more (wireless versions ) are possible.

  11. stew says:

    I LOVE IT. Your giving me all these ideas for human powered charging, next thing you know i’m going to be walking around with ten different cables and motors attached to various appendages….and i’d still only get 500mA, but it’d be cool

  12. aztraph says:

    coming from the point of view of someone who likes to practice proper breathing techniques, actually that’s all there is too it, breathing properly involves using your diaphragm, not your chest, your stomach expands as a result, A+ for style, D for concept, so technically it’s still a passing grade, but you’re still doing it wrong.

  13. bob says:

    Wow your ideal is breathtaking…

  14. themark says:

    Sir, could you step over here for “additional screening”?

  15. n0th1n6 says:

    Geek + Boob = heavy breathing = faster rpm = fast charging

  16. smoker_dave says:

    Maybe he would get better output if he picks more suitable gears and AC generator instead of just taking stuff out of the junk box.

    Imagine this being sub minaturised (maybe using nano technology?). Every thread around the girth of your jumper has one of these attached and then they are all multiplexed into a single charger.

  17. BP says:

    Do these jumpers up in a nice prison orange and we could turn prisons in to power plants. Give them exercise bikes and treadmills hooked up to generators and change the sentences to killowatts rather than years.

  18. chango says:

    @biozz: A springless solenoid like one of those shake flashlights would probably work. The first thought I had though was a scaled-up automatic watch mechanism: off center weight on the axis of a generator. You’d have to be careful not to pull too much current or you’d knock the person off balance!

  19. CrossDraw says:

    Hmm – Not a bad idea just don’t try going through airport security with one on, Unless you fancy making friends with some burly folks named Bubba or Agnuss, etc… for the next few years :P

  20. This is amazing !

    But men can’t “create energy”, so it will cost you energy as well : we had to eat more^^

  21. This is plain non-sense, our body is very efficient, if you try to “harvest” all that “wasted” energy you will need to provide the extra energy that your device colects from your movements and messing with lungs or hearth can be pretty hazardous.

  22. bob says:

    “breathing properly involves using your diaphragm, not your chest, your stomach expands as a result”

    I hope you wrote that wrong. Otherwise, you’ve been reading something very, very peculiar.

  23. supershwa says:

    Basically an archaic version of the (much more efficient) nanogenerators scientists are already working on, ex:

  24. supershwa says:

    Oh…and sucks sans subscription…

  25. mattbed says:

    actually your lungs expand in all directions and breathing isnt just as a result of diaphragm movement. Your rib cage moves up and out as well.

  26. mattbed says:

    so @ aztraph: c for your comment, f for your biological knowledge.

  27. walt says:

    instructables BOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

  28. strider_mt2k says:

    Always some creative type thinking every hack is heading straight towards the airport.

    Don’t go near an airport if you value your liberty, let alone your hack.

  29. cknopp says:


  30. Dan Fruzzetti says:

    you could still use it to power an LED!

  31. Dan Fruzzetti says:

    PS – cknopp: The Peltier effect is called the Seebeck effect when used backwards.

  32. canid says:

    I actually envision a much higher resistance -> higher torque implementation of this device driving a higher output alternator. the final output? powering a personal trainer device to monitor breathing exercise regimens.

    insane; maybe. orthotic and athletic applications must exist.

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