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Video: Shoe Inserts Harvest Energy to Power Devices

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Elizabeth M
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Sole power indeed
Elizabeth M   9/24/2013 8:18:31 AM
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With technologies like this and energy-harvesting shorts and a sleeping bag designed by Vodafone UK and British researchers (http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=265384), there are going to be lots of innovative ways people can charge devices through clothing and other fabrics in the future. It's an interesting space to watch.

Mydesign
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Re: Sole power indeed
Mydesign   9/24/2013 9:38:21 AM
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"Remember how startup Pavegen has designed floor tiles to harness the power of footsteps to keep the lights on at the 2012 Summer Olympics and generate energy at the Paris marathon?"

Elizabeth, now a day's peoples are educated about energy conservation and doing energy harvesting through different ways, especially with public or community system. Kudos for them and all the best.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Sole power indeed
Elizabeth M   9/25/2013 9:42:38 AM
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You're right, Mydesign, and as this technology becomes even more sophisticated and widely used, awareness will spread, which likely will create even more innovation. It's quite amazing to think we may be charging our phones from our shoes one day, and that this will be a common occurence.

Mydesign
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Re: Sole power indeed
Mydesign   9/26/2013 7:43:08 AM
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"this technology becomes even more sophisticated and widely used, awareness will spread, which likely will create even more innovation. It's quite amazing to think we may be charging our phones from our shoes one day, and that this will be a common occurence."

Elizabeth, public awareness is more important so peoples can think about new ways for generating green energies and hence less pollutions.

shehan
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Re: Sole power indeed
shehan   9/30/2013 11:40:26 AM
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@Elizabeth – Innovation is what we really need right now, when there is scarcity of resources minds open to innovation. 

shehan
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Re: Sole power indeed
shehan   9/30/2013 9:57:57 AM
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MyDesign- yes today most of us know at least 2-3 methods of generating power. Most of them know how to save energy. This could be due to the rising electricity bills. 

Debera Harward
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Re: Sole power indeed
Debera Harward   9/24/2013 12:17:40 PM
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Thanks, Elizebeth for such an interesting post, thats really great that developers have developed a soal wich can be placed inside the shoes to generat energy. These shoes can be very usefull in different locations for example people during hicking usually face the issue of battery down of there mobile phones these shoes can over come this issue . Secondly it can also be used in the areas if god forbids some disasterous situation occurs and they are unable to charge there mobiles these shoes can be used to carge there mobile phonesand help contact there relatives, families and friends.

Debera Harward
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Re: Sole power indeed
Debera Harward   9/24/2013 12:24:54 PM
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Generating electricity from kinetic energyis not new but this shoe can charge the iphone fully by just two to fine miles walk , however students are working on it to reduce this milage to two and a half miles . One of the thing that i like the most is that it iswater proof it will not get damaged by rainfall or by sweating .

Pubudu
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Re: Sole power indeed
Pubudu   9/29/2013 2:41:58 AM
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True Debera, so that it can be use even when jogging, sweating want be a problem. I think that this will harvest more power when jogging than the normal walking due to fast movement.

shehan
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Re: Sole power indeed
shehan   9/30/2013 11:00:55 AM
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@debera – Yes its great if this device is water proof and dust proof too. May be we will see the next level when it wirelessly transmits power to your device. 

Elizabeth M
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Re: Sole power indeed
Elizabeth M   9/25/2013 10:10:10 AM
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Yes, Debera, this solution would be great in those situations, and this is exactly the intent of Sole Power with the invention.

Pubudu
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Re: Sole power indeed
Pubudu   9/29/2013 3:06:41 AM
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Elizabeth, can't this principle use the other way around, where the flow will harvest the energy according to the movement of the peoples. If it is applicable it may be harvest more power to a specific work. Like lighting street lamps ..........etc. 

shehan
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Re: Sole power indeed
shehan   9/30/2013 10:58:34 AM
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@debera – The uses of this product is enormous, now you no longer need to carry your travel charger or extra battery pack where ever you go. It's also great if this power could be stored on a power bank for later use. 

Charles Murray
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Re: Sole power indeed
Charles Murray   9/24/2013 5:47:40 PM
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Liz, how do they get the power from the external battery pack to an iPhone?

Elizabeth M
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Re: Sole power indeed
Elizabeth M   9/25/2013 9:47:56 AM
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My understanding, Chuck, is that is it through some kind of connecting wire, but I'll have to double check that for you.

shehan
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Re: Sole power indeed
shehan   9/30/2013 11:45:52 AM
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@Elizabeth – Yes it should be wired connection as they haven't found a method to transmit power yet. They are testing the development on a small scale.

shehan
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Re: Sole power indeed
shehan   9/30/2013 11:37:32 AM
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@Charles – I think for now we are talking about a wired connection, but I have a feeling that soon it will move to wireless transmission methods. 

Pubudu
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Re: Sole power indeed
Pubudu   9/29/2013 2:33:25 AM
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Elizabeth this is really really interesting article, these are the innovations that we need in the future. I believe that if each person can produce their day today energy need there want be a much energy issue. This is the ideal way to start that cause that whether we like it or not we walk every day. 

shehan
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Re: Sole power indeed
shehan   9/30/2013 9:56:05 AM
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@Elizabeth – Compared to sometime back, now we have man y ways to have portable power. This one great innovation where we could generate some clean power instead of just consuming them. 

jmiller
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Re: Sole power indeed
jmiller   9/30/2013 10:21:57 PM
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I find this idea very interesting. Often when I hear about renewable energy my first question is about the opportunity cost. What would the resource have produced if it didn't make energy. But in this case I have to say I don't see any opportunity loss.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Sole power indeed
Elizabeth M   10/1/2013 10:11:18 AM
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I agree, jmiller, in this case I don't think the cost of the technology is a big issue. It seems very cost effective and more or less a no brainer.

Mydesign
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Creating awareness
Mydesign   9/24/2013 9:44:27 AM
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Elizabeth, recently during one of our national festival, the organizers had kept 10 bicycles near to the main place, where cultural event and other lighting illumination happen. Those who are interested can ride the stationary bicycle and the bicycle is attached to a dynamo. So when bicycle is riding, energy is generating and using for light decoration and other purpose. The intention is to create awareness about green energy.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Creating awareness
Elizabeth M   9/25/2013 10:17:27 AM
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That sounds like a really inventive and worthwhile demonstration and it's nice to see organizers of festivals that have the ability to reach people on a larger scale trying to create awareness around this type of thing. Awareness is the first step to greater adoptino and future innovation.

Mydesign
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Re: Creating awareness
Mydesign   9/26/2013 7:45:29 AM
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"it's nice to see organizers of festivals that have the ability to reach people on a larger scale trying to create awareness around this type of thing. Awareness is the first step to greater adoptino and future innovation."

Elizabeth, yes the main intentions of the organizers are creating awareness to the public. Since it's a public function and exhibition, large crowd can be get educated.

shehan
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Re: Creating awareness
shehan   9/30/2013 10:56:21 AM
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@MyDesign- Arranging some public awareness campaigns is good for people to understand how efficiently they need to use electricity. 

TJ McDermott
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Paging Max Smart
TJ McDermott   9/24/2013 1:22:02 PM
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This is perfect for powering a shoe phone!  Using this to power a shoe phone would even eliminate the dangling cable.

The trick to the various disparate ways of harvesting human energy is to make the transfer of that energy effortless (not even connecting cables).

shehan
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Re: Paging Max Smart
shehan   9/30/2013 11:05:41 AM
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@McDermott  - yes effectively transferring that energy harvested wirelessly is the challenge for the developers. I've heard that they found a way to transmit and receive power wirelessly.

Charles Murray
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Why not piezo?
Charles Murray   9/24/2013 5:49:32 PM
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I wonder why the inventors chose to "spin a small generator" rather than use a piezoelectric insert. Does it produce more current that way?

William K.
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Re: Why not piezo?
William K.   9/25/2013 3:16:52 PM
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There was nothing in the video that described how the device worked, and only about 4 seconds actually showing the device itself. The rest was a sales pitch telling us how wonderful the product is.

What I see is a fairly thick pad that slides inside a shoe, which it is much thicker than any I have used in my shoes. I would need to change shoe sizes to use this device. But just how does it work?Where is the generator that is spun by the air, or fluid, and how does it avoid feeling like a big lump under my foot? Or is it a micromachined turbine so very small that we would not feel it? And just what voltage and current does it produce?

There are way to many completely unaddressed questions about this product for it to even be taken seriously, at least based on what was presented. Sort of like thatenergty harvesting device that the German student showed off a while back. Remember that? It was eventually de-bunked as a fake.

So if this device is patented thgen we should be able to see some drawings or photos, and if it not, then we should be able to see some Chinese knock-offs in a few months and investigate them.

shehan
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Re: Why not piezo?
shehan   9/30/2013 11:51:51 AM
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@William – Not sure if they are really willing to disclose how this works. I guess that's why they don't have it on video. 

Charles Murray
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Re: Why not piezo?
Charles Murray   9/27/2013 6:00:32 PM
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Do any of our readers have a thought on why a small generator as opposed to a piezo?

ttemple
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Re: Why not piezo?
ttemple   9/27/2013 6:35:35 PM
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From a wikipedia article on piezoelectricity

"DARPA's effort to harness 1–2 watts from continuous shoe impact while walking were abandoned due to the impracticality and the discomfort from the additional energy expended by a person wearing the shoes. Other energy harvesting ideas include harvesting the energy from human movements in train stations or other public places"[25][26]

Looks like someone has tried this before.

I would guess that piezo output characteristics are less suitable to battery charging than the generator.  Looks like piezo's are good for very high voltages, which is probably not what you want to charge a cell phone battery.

 

William K.
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Re: Why not piezo?
William K.   9/30/2013 9:31:41 PM
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Charles, the reason for a small generator is that the concept sells better, since more folks understand the concept of a generator than understand or are familiar with the concept of the piezo element generating voltage. And this thing is all about marketing, I am convinced of that, as much by what was left out of the video as by what was there. And if the DARPA researchers gave up on the idea then it must have some serious flaws.

And while I did not want to sound so very negative in my initial posting, it is very difficult to imagine that normal footfalls could produce enough air flow, by squeezing a bellows of any shape, to spin a turbine enough to drive a generator to produce any useful amount of power. And if it could possibly be done, it could not be done cheaply. Efficient turbines require a great deal of machining accuracy, and accurate machining is not cheap. So there are a lot of quite fundamental barriers to any sort of success in a project described in this way. 

But I really do wonder what there is that is generating power in those half-inch-thick insoles, and just how much power it really is generating. 

A few years back I wrote an article about a revolutionar air motor that was going to solve all of the problems associated with air motors up to that time. I then saw one ad attempting to find licensees for the technology, but never any products. And that was another product where there was no description of what was inside. 

So if a patent has been applied for, that would add a bit of credibility, and if a patent has been issued, that would add ore credibility. But presently I stand as an interested skeptic. I would really like to see how such a thing works, and be exposed to some new technology, but sometimes things just seem a bit to good to be believed.

bikeguy55
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Iron
Sole Power
bikeguy55   9/25/2013 9:53:45 AM
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I love the name...and concept

Charles Murray
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Re: Sole Power
Charles Murray   9/25/2013 7:01:52 PM
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I agree, Bikeguy55. The name SolePower is clever and conjures up good images.

Tool_maker
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Military Use
Tool_maker   9/25/2013 12:54:14 PM
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  I can see where the military would be all over this, particularly if they can connect the batteries together to up the voltage. I do not remember many things more unsetteling than being on a patrol and losing communications with our command unit. Without communication it was spooky not knowing whether the approaching footsteps were a friendly patrol, out of location, or enemy troops.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Military Use
Elizabeth M   9/26/2013 5:48:45 AM
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Tool_maker, I agree, I think this would be a great military application for soldiers that have to walk long distances far away from any base or power source. I can only imagine what a feeling it must be to be out in a combat zone somewhere without any means of communications and no way to charge radios or other communications devices.

shehan
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Re: Military Use
shehan   9/30/2013 11:50:04 AM
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@Tool_maker – yes this is a good invention for military personal specially for ones on the battle field. Some of them return to camps after weeks, so they need can charge their radio equipment. 

ttemple
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Opti-grab
ttemple   9/25/2013 8:25:52 PM
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I can't help but think of the "opti-grab" from the movie "The Jerk" (Steve Martin).

I can see millions of people with some sort of walking disorder from favoring their "charging" foot.  It makes them have one pigeon toed foot or something, and they have to walk like Quasimodo for the rest of their lives.

You can almost sense that the people in the video are walking funny to make the thing work effectively.

Charles Murray
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Re: Opti-grab
Charles Murray   9/26/2013 6:56:36 PM
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I have to admit I noticed the same thing, ttemple. The people in the video seemed to be walking very deliberately, as if trying to generate more power.

bobjengr
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sole power
bobjengr   10/26/2013 2:56:14 PM
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 Very interesting post Elizabeth.  I can certainly see how this would be remarkably beneficial specifically for the military and people on station at length;i.e. nurses, doctors, manufacturing floor supervisors, etc etc.  As the use of wireless communication increases, this application would possibly keep mobile devices charged during a shift.  Solar is much too cumbersome and does not allow mobility.  This tecnology, when developed and commercialized, could be the answer to many problems realtive to powering mobile devices.   Very informative.   

Elizabeth M
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Re: sole power
Elizabeth M   10/28/2013 7:19:20 AM
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Yes, bobjengr, while initially I think the target of the shoes is for hikers and people out in the wilderness with no access to electricity/connections, the applications you mention sound really good as well. People working long shifts who need to be in constant communication often have battery issues as well, so this would be a great invention for them.

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