Shoe technology conceptualized by a 15-year old inventor will let us charge our devices just by walking. Will this help make wearable devices more sustainable?

power generating shoes Charge your phone just by walking

How many times have you found yourself plugging in your smartphone in the middle of the day? Chances are, if you’re a heavy user, then you will need to plug in at work, while driving, or sometimes even whilst at a cafe or restaurant. Power banks have also become popular for those with long commutes. But if you walk a considerable distance every day, why not charge while walking — harnessing the power of your steps along the way?

Angelo Casimiro, a 15-year old inventor from the Philippines, has built a device that can charge a smartphone — or any USB-powered device — using movement from walking. Stepping and lifting your foot will bend piezo-electric membranes, which then generates current, charging a plugged-in device.

According to Casimiro, his invention can charge a 400 mAh Lithium-Ion cell with 8 hours of walking. While that’s certainly a big deal of walking just to get your device to a 20 percent charge (assuming an average 2,000 mAh battery pack for a smartphone), the trickle charge may still be useful enough in keeping your device from dying while you travel to and from work, or walk across campus.

The use case scenario goes beyond charging mobile phones. Think of remote areas without access to the grid. Or how about trekking and camping? A trickle charge would surely be better than nothing, especially if you can also augment it with other sources, like solar (a technology that Casimiro has also worked on in the past).

This can supply power for personal devices especially if you live in remote areas where electricity isn’t available,” Casimiro is quoted as saying. “It can charge flashlight(s), phones, radios and any other USB device.”

Going beyond plugging in devices to your shoes, the charging technology can actually power devices built into the shoe or clothing itself, which makes it “ideal for smart clothing, sport apparels that sync to your smart device/phone/watch wirelessly.”

Another use case scenario would be tracking technology — power harnessed from walking can supply charge to a GPS tracker built into the shoe. While this might trip privacy alarms in this post-NSA whistleblowing era we live in, this could come in useful for rescue situations and when keeping tabs on your kids.

The project was done as part of the 2014 Google Science Fair, and the inventor is asking for support. Give his YouTube video a thumbs-up to support the invention.

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Source: Google Science Fair