Military Offers $1M Prize for Lighter Battery Packs

Soldiers now carry packs weighing 40 lb. on 4-day missions.
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 17, 2007 4:29 PM CDT
U.S. Soldiers wearing much of the equipment that would be aided by the invention of a lightweight power source.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The Department of Defense will pay $1 million to the person or team who can come up with a way to lighten the load of US troops. On a 4-day mission, soldiers now lug battery packs that weigh up to 40 pounds—often more than their ammunition. The batteries power such high-tech items as GPS systems and night goggles.

The army hopes the contest will attract entrepreneurs, scientists, and inventors. Rules stipulate that the battery vest must weigh 8.8 pounds or less and produce 20 watts average power for 4 days or 96 hours. The prototypes will undergo rigorous testing to simulate real-life troop activities.