Having to lug around batteries during missions has long been a complaint of soldiers. They typically carry an average of seven different kinds of batteries that weigh a total of 16 pounds, according to the Army Research Laboratory.
Executives from a Canadian company named Panacis said its new battery, the SharePack, is a lighter way to not only power devices, but also to harvest energy from anything from a solar blanket to a Humvee battery.
The device can store and use energy like a battery, as well as connect directly to other power sources and pull energy without the need of an intermediary device. Its name comes from its ability to connect to other SharePacks to make a single unit, which Panacis executives say will help eliminate the waste of dead or partially-depleted batteries.
“What we’re hearing from actual soldiers is when they use just a battery, there’s a tendency to only use about 70 percent of the battery capacity, and then they get nervous and they unplug it and they put a fresh one in,” said Steve Carkner, Panacis’ chief technology officer. “Because of the way our system networks with itself, you don’t have to disconnect the batteries. … Being able to actually use 100 percent of the energy that you’re carrying is a great efficiency benefit.”
The SharePack weighs 2.2 pounds and has a USB port and two military connector ports. Its LCD display shows information such as the level of charge and how long before it is empty. The device comes in two configurations — one that fits into a double M4 magazine ammo pouch and a wing-shaped one that fits around the body.
Panacis showcased the SharePack at the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference held in May in Tampa, Fla. The company believes the product’s light weight and flexibility makes it an especially good fit for special operations, said Janet Mason, chief executive officer of Panacis.
Special Operations Command has invited the company to submit proposals on the SharePack, she added.
Panacis executives also want to market the SharePack to the Marine Corps for its squad power network, a program administered by the Office of Naval Research, Mason said. Photo Credit: Panacis