Uncle Sam Wants You To Build Him a Battery Suit

The Department of Defense office of Research Engineering is putting up $1,000,000 for the team that can come up with the best battery suit for "dismounted warfighters." These days, in order to complete a four-day mission, soldiers need to pack 20 lbs of batteries to power up all their assorted electronics (which also add weight). What the DoD wants, badly, is a wearable system that weighs 4kg (just under 9lbs) and puts out 20W average electric power for 96 hours, with peaks up to 200W. And in case you Tony Starks out there were thinking it, "No radioisotope or nuclear power sources are permitted."

Here are the technical requirements:

The complete power system must weigh 4kg or less and provide a minimum of 1920Whr. The power system must operate continuously for 96 hours. During the 96 hours of operation the system must operate: (1) continuously (i.e., 24 hours a day); (2) at partial power; (3) for a number of periods of high power of up to 200W for 5 min; (4) in a non-air breathing mode in a sealed container for a time to be determined; (5) be attitude or vertical orientation and motion independent; (6) provide output voltages of 14V and 28V. The system must attach to a vest and operate while worn. The government will provide connectors for the equipment on the course with additional cables, outlets, etc.

Entry is required by November 30, with a final competitive demonstration next year, in October or November 2008. In addition to the million-dollar first prize, there's $500,000 for second place and $250,000 for third. And the government is happy to point out an incentive beyond military use: "Winning solutions may have commercial application in the fields of camping, hiking, and other extended outdoor activities."

Contest Page [DDR&E via Defense Tech]