Marines Blog

The Official Blog of the United States Marine Corps

Subscribe by RSS

ExFOB 2014: Marines Voice Opinions on Possible New Gear

Experimental Forward Operating Base ’14 gave Marines the opportunity to come out and evaluate technologies that could possibly be used in the Marine Corps’ future. Afterwards, they let their voices be heard about what they thought about the gear and equipment. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Kathy Nunez/Released)

Experimental Forward Operating Base ’14 gave Marines the opportunity to come out and evaluate technologies that could possibly be used in the Marine Corps’ future. Afterwards, they let their voices be heard about what they thought about the gear and equipment. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Kathy Nunez/Released)

Marines were given the chance to test and evaluate different pieces of tactical energy harvesting technologies at Experimental Forward Operating Base ’14 aboard Camp Pendleton, California, May 12-16. The ExFOB is part of the Marine Corps’ goal of equipping Marines with technology to reduce energy usage. Examples of waste energy include the exhaust or heat from a generator or a vehicle engine, kinetic energy from an individual, and solar power.

Marines were given demonstrations by ExFOB experts and were able to try on and test all of the gear at the event. After Marines surveyed the gear, they let their voices be heard through surveys, giving their positive and negative feedback on the equipment. Here’s what they had to say:

 

PowerWalk

The PowerWalk is a wearable energy harvester that generates power while walking. ExFOB ‘14 is taking place May 12-16 and offers Marines the opportunity to come out and evaluate technologies that could possibly be used in the Marine Corps’ future.

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Kathy Nunez/Released)

The PowerWalk is a wearable energy harvester that generates energy while the user is walking. While walking, our legs act as brakes, and the braking action is used to generate power. The device straps onto the user’s leg from the highest part of their hamstring to their ankle, almost like a knee brace. It can generate an average of 12 Watts of power while walking at a normal pace.

Lance Cpl. Corey Champagne, Field Radio Operator, 3rd Battalion, 12th Marines, 1st Marine Division

“It has a great opportunity for applications in the field. As a field radio operator, we’re constantly running around, trying to charge batteries. Maintaining communications is essential in order to complete the mission. Knowing that it’s collecting energy as you take everyday steps, it makes you feel like you’re knocking out two birds with one stone. If it’s applicable for saving energy and if it works well enough, it could save time, money, and overall help out Marines.”

Cpl. Stephen Hollifield, Reconnaissance Man, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division

“I felt like I had pretty good mobility with it. The mechanics of it imitate the knee and it’s natural motion. It felt like it would actually reduce some of the shock (in the knee) if I were wearing a ruck. It was a little restrictive, and the straps were a little irritating. I see it being very useful once they’ve perfected it. With this, being able to recharge batteries would be a big help.  You can carry as many batteries as you want, but once those batteries are dead, you can’t bring them back to life.”

Staff Sgt. Justin Owens, Maintenance Chief, 1st Maintenance Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group

“I honestly thought it was joke, but after trying it on, walking around, and seeing the numbers, I definitely felt the power of it. The big thing is you’re using your body to produce power instead of getting the power from another resource. After you get used to it, the weight (of the PowerWalk) seems to go away and you don’t really feel a difference.”

 

Lightning Pack

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Kathy Nunez/Released)

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Kathy Nunez/Released)

The Lightning Pack is also a wearable energy harvester. The pack uses the rise and fall of the hip while walking to generate electrical power. The pack not only creates energy, but the bouncing motion of the pack helps reduce the impact on the user’s knees. During normal walking, the pack can produce 7-15 Watts, depending on the weight of the pack and how fast the user is walking.

Lance Cpl. Jayleen Rodriguez, Electrician, Marine Wing Support Squadron 373

“I thought it was a good idea, but the plastic part behind it was very hard and straight, so it’s not very comfortable. I’d put padding around the plastic part. The spring makes noise and it isn’t tactical.”

Cpl. Brandon O’Connell, Reconnaissance Man, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division

“It’s awesome. It’s beyond any pack I’ve ever used. I was running with it, and it took all the pressure out of my knees, calves, and ankles. Depending on how long a patrol is, you’re taking 10 to 20 batteries and it’s going to weigh you down a lot. You can recharge your batteries with the pack, and that would help a lot.”

Sgt. Phillip King, Electrician, Marine Wing Support Squadron 373

“I like the fact that it makes energy. I did not like that it moves. When I do hikes, I carry 240 lbs., and I can’t do that when it’s bouncing up and down. Sure, it locks in place, but that defeats the purpose of having the (energy harvesting) pack. I hate the plastic on the packs – the pack I have now has plastic and it hurts.”

 

    Related Posts

  • Profiles of a Warrior

    March 11th, 2014 // By Marine Corps Social Media

    Even when life couldn’t bring them lower, these few Marine heroes discovered how to keep moving. More than 300 Wounded Warrior Marines, veterans and allies came to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., to test their  [Read more...]

  • Marine Finds Hope, Recovery With Caregiver

    March 11th, 2014 // By Cpl. Lisette Leyva

    Richard has times where he doesn’t want to be with me. He would rather be with Marines and people his own age. Richard has to have his space and I understand that. But, he also  [Read more...]

  • Wounded Marine Finds Positive Spin in Life

    March 11th, 2014 // By Cpl. Lisette Leyva

    Staff Sgt. Timothy Brown lost both his legs above the knee and his right arm above the elbow in an IED explosion in 2011. He refuses to give up on life and continues to put  [Read more...]

  • Marine Overcomes Obstacles, Becomes Mentor to Peers

    March 11th, 2014 // By Cpl. Ally Beiswanger

    Cpl. Ivan Sears was hit by an improvised explosive device while on patrol in Afghanistan in 2010. The Marines in his unit saved his life but Sears lost both legs above the knee.  In the  [Read more...]

  • Different Levels, Same Goals: Veteran vs. Rookie

    March 11th, 2014 // By Cpl. Ally Beiswanger

    Marine veteran Joshua Kelly has participated in the Marine Corps Trials three years in a row. He said his goal this year is to make it to the Warrior Games. This year is Sgt. Josh Smith’s  [Read more...]