Power-walk your way to a full phone battery in these clever energy-harvesting shoes.
A team of researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is working on a novel way of converting the kinetic energy from your footsteps into precious life-giving juice for your phone and other devices.
The energy-harvesting shoes, which are still very much in the experimental stages, use a new process known as electrowetting which the team are hard at work trying to perfect. With the electrowetting tech tucked in the soles of your shoes, every step you take could generate electricity to fuel your gadgets, without the need for an external battery pack or power source.
In simple terms, electrowetting uses a conductive liquid that works with a nanofilm-coated surface to produce electricity. A device called a Bubbler helps the process along by allowed tiny gas bubbles to make contact with the top plate and quickly burst, encouraging the conductive fluid to move back and forth to produce more power. The team’s shoe tech produces around 10 watts per square metre of surface, or in the space of one shoe.
All of the clever gadgetry is neatly tucked inside the shoes’ soles, which also house a battery with a USB output for you to plug your phone, tablet, or whatever device you’re charging into.
The team are hoping to partner with industry to bring the shoe tech to feet worldwide. You can read more about the team’s work here.