Fed up with fossil fuels, more people these days are looking to their own two feet, and not just for transportation. In the past few years, we’ve seen a crop of conceptual designs created to turn your very own footfalls into power for mobile gadgets. We’re talking about kinetic chargers that fit right into your own shoe, turning each step into a burst free, clean electricity.
While all of these designs were cool, and certainly all had commercial potential, few (if any?) are actually available for public purchase. That’s why we’re excited about SolePower, an energy harvesting company that’s dedicated to bringing a power-generating shoe insert to market.
The difference between SolePower and all those other shoe-based chargers is apparent at first glance: the energy-harvesting technology is built into a removable insole rather than the shoe itself. This means you can swap it between your favorite pair of sneakers and your hiking boots in about a minute.
SolePower’s design also makes it remarkably easy to get the power out of the insole and into your dying gadget. “The device produces power during both the impact and swing phases of the user’s gait. That power is then stored in an external battery and accessed via micro or mini USB ports. The user does not need to remove the insole, and does not need to attach their electronic devices to their footwear,” explains a press release.
And while solar and wind-powered chargers can sometimes be slow and unreliable, there’s nothing but your muscle and energy to decide the limitations of the SolePower. In testing, the device has undergone simulation of 100 million steps (i.e. you’ll wear out your shoes before you kill it), and has been show to need only between 2.5 and 5 miles of walking for a full (iPhone) charge.
“We are among the many new startups that are redefining the Pittsburgh business eco-system,” wrote SolePower team member Sachel Sengupta in an email. “A successful Kickstarter campaign will help us greatly in achieving that goal.”
Want to turn your steps into priceless energy? Consider donating to the project’s crowdfunding endeavor.