December 30, 2006 Biologists at the University of Pennsylvania have announced details for a suspended-load ergonomic backpack that reduces the force of a backpacks load on the wearer by 86%, allowing wearers to run far more comfortably with heavy loads. The backpack was created with soldiers and emergency workers in mind and could prevent the sort of muscle and joint injuries associated with running while carrying heavy items. The backpack will also benefit schoolchildren, since heavy school bags have been linked to muscle and orthopedic injury. "For the same energetic cost, you can either carry 48 pounds in a normal backpack or 60 pounds in a suspended-load ergonomic backpack," Larry Rome, a professor in Penn's Department of Biology, said. "It is like carrying an extra 12 pounds for 'free.'"
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