In 1956, the Japanese watch manufacturer Seiko invented the “Magic Lever”, a mechanism for generating energy from human movement. Comprising just three components, the design converts linear oscillating motion into one-directional rotating motion.
As YouTuber Robert Murray-Smith explains in a video, the Magic Lever in Seiko self-winding watches is used to wind a hairspring when worn. The kinetic energy exerted by the wearer is used by a coupled flywheel mass.
According to Murray-Smith, the idea behind this is interesting for wearables that generate electricity. Sensors and electronics could be supplied with energy from steps and everyday activity. However, the mostly linear human movement would have to be converted into rotation even more efficiently.
Murray-Smith sees great potential for such applications in the simple Magic Lever principle. With the help of 3D printing, he has produced a prototype that he would soon like to test in a walking mechanism.
Seiko’s invention from 1956 could soon be revived in the form of energy-autonomous smartwatches and the like. Robert Murray-Smith is making the model for 3D printing available free of charge on the Thingiverse platform.