Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New ergonomic backpack lightens the load

22.12.2006
Invention could have important health applications for schoolchildren, emergency workers

MBL, WOODS HOLE, MA—An MBL (Marine Biological Laboratory) biomechanics expert has invented an ergonomic backpack that uses rubber bands to reduce the effects of heavy loads on shoulders and joints and permits wearers to run more comfortably with heavy loads.

The backpack's design, which suspends loads using bungee cords, reduces the energetic cost of carrying weight such that users can carry 12 more pounds in the suspended backpack than in a traditional backpack. The suspended backpack could reduce the risk of orthopedic and muscular injuries to children, emergency workers, and others who use backpacks to carry loads.

Lawrence C. Rome, a University of Pennsylvania biology professor and a Whitman Investigator at the MBL, where he spends his summers studying muscle in fish and frogs, and two colleagues, describe the design of and the mechanics behind the Suspended-Load Ergonomic Backpack in the December 21 issue of the journal Nature.

With traditional backpacks, the mass of the backpack, which is typically attached tightly to the body, must undergo the same vertical displacement as the hip, which moves up and down 5 to 7 centimeters during walking. As a result, the peak forces exerted on the body by the load can be twice as high when walking, and three times as high when running, as when the backpack is not moving, exerting extreme forces on the wearer's shoulders and joints.

By using stretchy bungee cords, Rome's ergonomic backpack suspends the load and allows it to stay at a nearly constant height from the ground while the wearer walks or runs. This reduces the vertical displacement of the load and the resulting dynamic forces exerted on the body by a remarkable 82 to 86 percent. The reduction in dynamic force is easily felt, says Rome, and has practical consequences. "An immediate application would be to use it in backpacks carried by schoolchildren, a well known cause of musculoskeletal injury and recognized international public health problem."

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the backpack is that it permits wearers to run far more comfortably with heavy loads. "Being able to move at relatively high speeds is crucial for many professions (firemen, first responders, disaster relief workers, and police) as well as in some athletic competitions and recreation," says Rome. "If you have ever tried to run with a heavy backpack, it is almost impossible because of the large shocks to your knees and ankles. What is striking about our ergonomic backpack is that one can feel the 86 percent reduction in force with each and every step."

Rome and his colleagues also found that the suspended backpack's reduction in forces exerted on the body reduced the metabolic cost of carrying a load, allowing a substantially heavier load to be carried. The lower metabolic rate allows the wearer to carry 60 pounds in the ergonomic backpack for the same energetic cost as 48 pounds in a normal backpack. "The reason for this reduction in metabolic rate is that the suspended backpack reduces the accelerative forces during the more energetically expensive phase of walking, which is when both legs are simultaneously in contact with the ground and performing mechanical work against each other," says Rome.

Rome has formed a company called Lightning Packs LLC to further develop and commercialize the backpack. He and his colleagues will be focusing on reducing the backpack's weight and making a smaller daypack version. Lightning Packs has already received funding through small business grants from the Office of Naval Research and National Institutes of Health for commercializing an electricity generating backpack, which Rome invented in 2003. It plans to apply for similar funding for development of the ergonomic backpack.

Gina Hebert | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mbl.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Researchers release the brakes on the immune system
18.10.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht Norovirus evades immune system by hiding out in rare gut cells
12.10.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>