Power lines crisscross the skies, delivering electricity with the flip of a switch. But what happens when a soldier is outside, away from an electrical outlet, and unable to access electricity to power equipment or recharge batteries?
An engineer at an Air Force research lab in Dayton, Ohio, has figured out how to harness electricity from power lines via a system called RAPS. RAPS is a connecting device that’s attached to the end of a long cable. When the device is thrown over a power line, a blade at the end pierces the power line and completes the circuit that brings electricity down to the soldier. And that can mean a lot in the desert or jungle.
“Research and development is an amazing field to work in and yes, it’s fun,” says mechanical designer Dave Coates. “Especially when you have a lot of people saying the task you’ve been given is impossible, and then you produce something like this.”
Special thanks to the National Defense Education Program for providing this insider’s view of every day work undertaken by Defense Department scientists and engineers. Check out LabTV for more great videos!