Engineers at the University of Leeds are developing a method to harness the power of marching soldiers as a means of powering electronic equipment.
It is believed that the new system, which uses high-tech ceramics and crystals as piezoelectric transducers to convert foot power into battery power, could reduce the weight of a soldiers' pack by up to 10kg.
Energy-harvesting devices are placed around the back-pack straps and around the knee to provide support, capturing energy when the legs are bent.
"As well as the obvious green issue of using so many batteries, it could also reduce a soldier's pack weight by around 15 per cent," commented Professor Andrew Bell, who is leading the £1 million research project.
"And this technology could potentially have lots of applications in civvy street too."
The technology could be used to power troops' torches, radios and communications kits.
Last year researchers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology developed a portable, hydrogen-generating power system for soldiers to use on the battlefield.