Members of Navy explosive ordnance disposal teams are used to lugging around 50 pounds of batteries and chargers, but scientists are working on a system that weighs just 9 pounds and would give them all the power they need.
Sailors and marines on EOD teams have to carry different batteries for nearly every piece of gear. All of the chargers currently supplied to an EOD platoon would cover a 4-foot by 4-foot table, officials said.
A unit that tests and evaluates equipment is trying out five new power systems that were developed by the Navy and industry partners under an Office of Naval Research program.
The lightweight power management kits contain common military rechargeable batteries, a blanket covered in solar cells, and smart cables that link bomb disposal equipment to a 1-pound soldier power manager unit. This device can harness energy from a variety of sources to charge batteries and provide power to attached gear.
A graphical interface displays information about batteries, power usage, state of charge and operational details. All of this data is stored and analyzed to tell operators how much power remains and to help EOD teams plan for future missions, officials said.