[Ian Charnas] has taken a short break from building things that might injure himself, by building something that could injure somebody else instead. (Video, embedded below) Well, hopefully not anyway. After working with YouTuber [Tyler Csatari] on a few ideas, [Tyler] was insistent on getting some power-assisted jumping shoes, so [Ian] set to work mounting some compressed-air powered pistons to a pair of walking shoes. With a large backpack housing the 200 PSI air cylinder, control valves and timers. The whole affair looks solidly constructed, if a little ungainly, but does seem to work surprisingly well.
After some initial calculations of how much force each piston could exert before risking leg injury, he found that whilst it did work, to an extent, the pressure required was beyond the capability of the compressor they had on hand. After a shopping trip, a bigger compressor was located, but that still needed a modification to get anywhere near its maximum 200 psi rating. The thing is, that modification was to bypass the regulator and the safety valve, and this is definitely something you don’t want to be making a habit of. Compressed air systems like this can hold quite a bit of an explosion potential if pushed beyond reasonable limits, and care needs to be taken to keep things within safe bounds.
Cost-wise, [Ian] does mention a figure of around $3,000 USD making it a bit of a pricey project, but hey a YouTuber’s paying the bill, so it must just be a drop in the ocean for them?
Just to illustrate how useful compressed air is as a method of storing energy, here’s a compressed-air powered helicopter, and a 3D printed wankel rotary engine, which must’ve been tough to dial in and get working!