Each thud of a hiker’s heel releases enough energy to illuminate a light bulb. Rather than waste that power, Matt Stanton created a shoe insole that stores it as electricity. Instead of using bulky methods to generate electricity, it uses smaller components similar to those found in hand-cranked flashlights. The result is a near standard-size removable insole that weighs less than five ounces, including a battery pack and charges electronics via USB.
SolePower’s current version, to be released later this year, requires a lengthy 15-mile walk to charge a smartphone, but the company is working toward a design that can charge an iPhone after less than five miles of hiking.
How it Works:
1. A drive train converts the energy of heel strikes into rotational energy, spinning magnetic rotors.
2. The motion of the rotors induces an electrical current within coils of wire.
3. Electricity travels along a wire and into a lithium-ion polymer battery pack on a wear’s shoelaces.