This new wearable harvests electricity while you walk

Mexican scientists have developed a new wearable that fits inside a shoe and can convert energy from walking (or running, I guess, if you’re into that kind of thing) and turn it into electricity.

The device, which is around three millimetres thick, is similar to an insole and designed to store mechanical-vibrational energy created by movement. It measures pressure, force and acceleration, and its inbuilt circuit converts mechanical energy into microwatts.

Designed by scientists at the Center for Research in Advanced Materials (CIMAV) in Chihuahua, it’s so far successfully powered a clock and recharged AAA batteries. Although only on a small scale, it’s a new way to use green energy. The device is just a prototype at present, but the researchers would like to bring it to market, and are also considering ways to expand the technology.

Hurtado Macias from CIMAV has suggested that a mat which acts similarly could be placed at the entrance to a well-used transport system, like a tube station, and collect the energy generated from foot traffic – which could be enough to power the station itself. ‘Today, the energy generated by people walking is wasted; if we learn to harvest it and turn it into electricity, we can contribute to the global impact,’ he said.

Image credit: Investigación y Desarrollo.

Diane Shipley