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?

32 thoughts on “Breathing Motion Powered USB Charger

  1. 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

  2. @ 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. @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!

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. “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.

  13. 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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