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Charge Your Gadgets by Simply Walking

Do you know that every stride you make in walking can give out energy sufficient to light up a bulb? Instead of wasting such energy, the latest gadget called SolePower can store it to be used as electrical power later.

charge shoe

SolePower insoles generates and stores electricity with each step you take.Image credit: SolePower.

This gadget was invented by Matt Stanton and Hahna Alexande, former students of Carnegie Mellon. The shoe insoles incorporate the similar parts like a hand-crank flashlight powered mechanically. Initially they developed the power-generating inserts to light an LED in the shoe for students walking late at night on campus.

The energy collected by every heel strike is turned into rotational energy that can make small magnetic rotors spin. These rotors then can generate an electrical current within coils of wire. Afterwards, the electricity will move along a cable to be stored in a lithium-ion polymer battery pack. Small electronics can be charged through a USB port on the external battery pack being secured onto the shoelaces in a fabric holster.

The weight of the gadget plus the external power pack is lighter than   five ounces. If you walk for fifteen miles with the current version, the power can be enough to charge a smartphone. At present, the team is making efforts to design a new version which can produce same power from a 5 mile-walking, but can endure wear and tear for about 100 million steps.

Except for the above-mentioned gadget, there are also other kinds of approaches to in-shoe power-generating. For instance, another gadget developed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison uses a technique known as reverse electrowetting. It can convert the energy of metal droplets (in the soles) into an electrical current. With the conductive liquid drops being compressed or sheared by the electrode layer on top, thus voltage is generated.

Characteristic of being all-weather and removable, SolePower inserts can be modified to fit any shoe, especially for the shoes of backpackers who might lack room for extra juice packs or need some more backup for solar chargers on cloudy days and nights.

Source: Popular Science

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