Gait Biomechanics: Energy Harvesting Assault Pack vs Standard Assault Pack

Research Paper Title

Spatiotemporal and kinematic changes in gait while carrying an energy harvesting assault pack system.

Background

Soldiers are fielded with a variety of equipment including battery powered electronic devices. An energy harvesting assault pack (EHAP) was developed to provide a power source to recharge batteries and reduce the quantity and load of extra batteries carried into the field.

Little is known about the biomechanical implications of carrying a suspended-load energy harvesting system compared to the military standard assault pack (AP).

Methods

The goal of this study was to determine the impact of pack type and load magnitude on spatiotemporal and kinematic parameters while walking at 1.34 m/s on an instrumented treadmill at decline, level, and incline grades.

Results

There was greater forward trunk lean while carrying the EHAP and the heavy load (decline: p < 0.001; level: p = 0.009; incline: p = 0.003).

As load increased from light to heavy, double support stance time was longer (decline: p = 0.012; level: p < 0.001; incline: p < 0.001), strides were shorter (incline: p = 0.013), and knee flexion angle at heel strike was greater (decline: p = 0.033; level: p = 0.035; incline: p = 0.005).

When carrying the EHAP, strides (decline: p = 0.007) and double support stance time (incline: p = 0.006) was longer, the knee was more flexed at heel strike (level: p = 0.014; incline: p < 0.001) and there was a smaller change in knee flexion during weight acceptance (decline: p = 0.0013; level: p = 0.007; incline: p = 0.0014).

Conclusions

Carrying the EHAP elicits changes to gait biomechanics compared to carrying the standard AP.

Understanding how load-suspension systems influence loaded gait biomechanics are warranted before transitioning these systems into military or recreational environments.

Reference

Talarico, M.K., Haynes, C.A., Douglas, J.S. & Collazo, J. (2018) Spatiotemporal and kinematic changes in gait while carrying an energy harvesting assault pack system. Journal of Biomechanics. 74, pp.143-149. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2018.04.035. Epub 2018 May 3.

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