Unique backpack allows users to generate power while they walk.
By Anne Craig, Communications Officer
Imagine having the ability to charge your cellphone while hiking in the far reaches of Ontario. Queen’s researcher Qingguo Li (Mechanical and Materials Engineering) and PhD student Michael Shepertycky have created a portable device that can be used anywhere and at any time to produce power on the go. Bill Ostrom, of Ostrom Outdoors in Thunder Bay, Ontario, has created a new company around the device called Go Kin Packs. Mr. Ostrom has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund further product development efforts to bring the device to market.
The device fits in the GO KIN backpack or fanny pack and two cords extend from the bottom of the pack and attach to the user’s ankles. The walking motion generates energy that is stored in the battery pack located in the backpack or fanny pack.
A brisk five-minute walk produces about 25 minutes of cellphone talk time. The Go Kin pack has two USB ports and can also power other electronic devices such as tablets and GPS devices. The device currently weighs just 2.6 pounds. With additional product development effort, the device could weigh less than a pound.
“I believe this technology provides a better way to power portable devices, which will create a social and environment impact,” says Dr. Li. “From the application point of view, I’m expecting the technology could quickly get to marketplace to provide portable power to those who need it.”
Dr. Li believes recreation enthusiasts and the military will have a strong interest in the Go Kin packs. He adds the packs could be useful in areas where traditional power sources are unavailable, such as developing countries and areas affected by natural disasters.
Ramzi Asfour, Commercial Development Manager at PARTEQ Innovations, connected with Mr.Ostrom who agreed to license the technology from Queen’s and to develop it into a commercial product.
“Bill saw this as a unique opportunity and was enthusiastic about it right away” says Mr. Asfour. “In discussing ways to fund the project, we suggested crowdfunding as an option. In addition to our logistical support, Bill has been working with the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre to get the campaign up and running. His goal is $30,000 to help pay for further product development.”
For information visit the Go Kin Kickstarter page.