Invention May Reduce Backpack Injuries
Scientists Create a Bungee Backpack to Lighten the Load
WebMD News Archive
Dec. 20, 2006 -- To help prevent backpack injuries, University of
Pennsylvania scientists have invented a backpack suspended by bungee cords.
Typical backpacks, which don't have bungee cords, rise and fall with your
That means extra work for your body, and possibly muscle strain if the
backpack is too heavy.
Heavy backpacks can be a hazard for school kids, the bungee backpack
inventors, including biology professor Lawrence Rome, PhD, note in
In addition to teaching at the university, Rome is a Whitman investigator at
the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass.
The bungee backpack has a rigid frame suspended from a bungee cord on each
shoulder. The bungee cords have a simple job -- hold the backpack steady.
"Essentially, the bungee cord permits the load to stay at nearly
constant height from the ground while the wearer walks or runs," Rome
People spend less energy walking with the bungee backpack on their shoulders
than with a conventional backpack, Rome's team reports.
The bungee cords may be especially helpful for people who run while wearing
backpacks, such as rescue workers toting heavy gear to disaster sites, note the
Rome has formed a company to further develop the backpacks, according to the
Marine Biological news release.