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Smart-City Technology Harvests Energy From Footsteps

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AnandY
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Go green
AnandY   4/22/2013 6:34:50 AM
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The tiles -- made of recycled polymer concrete and assorted polymers in addition to tire rubber

Wow tiles build by recycled polymer and tire rubber means smart-city with go-green technolgy. This adds as a bonus to environment.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Go green
Elizabeth M   4/22/2013 7:48:38 AM
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I thought that was a good use of recycled materials as well, AnandY, especially since tire rubber itself is such a wasteful product. What better way to reuse it then to turn it into something that can create energy?

Pubudu
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Re: Go green
Pubudu   4/26/2013 11:00:18 PM
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Elizabeth thanks for the awareness article, Actually this is a great innovation.

The electricity which is made through this is mainly depending on the weight and the number of movement in the flow, cant we able to increase the technology to durable enough to take more weight and more movement. Simply I, am thinking about vehicles in the roads. 

Elizabeth M
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Re: Go green
Elizabeth M   4/29/2013 4:25:35 AM
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I think that the technology can already work with cars, or is being adapted already to do so. I'm not entirely sure and have to check with the company on this. But you're right, there is great potential for this to be a use as well.

Rob Spiegel
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How's this on the feet?
Rob Spiegel   4/22/2013 12:37:29 PM
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That is a great idea, but I'd like to see how it feels to walk on this material. To create electricity, I would guess it would need to have some give. If this material is anything like the recycled tire material used on playgrounds, it will be a less than desirable walking experience. Walking on the playground material is like walking in a trampoline.

Elizabeth M
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Re: How's this on the feet?
Elizabeth M   4/22/2013 12:55:21 PM
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Yes, it definitely has some give, from what I understand, Rob. But I don't think it's TOO sponge-y. The flex is 5mm, which isn't that much, so I imagine it would be a little bit like those people movers at airports. But I don't know for sure. I guess the only way to know is to test it or talk to someone who has.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: How's this on the feet?
Rob Spiegel   4/22/2013 8:14:35 PM
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I think there would have to be some give in order to generate the energy. A little give may not be a walking problem. Actually a little give will help walkers burn more calories, much like running in sand, but not to that extreme.

Elizabeth M
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Re: How's this on the feet?
Elizabeth M   4/23/2013 3:47:26 AM
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Another good point, Rob. The tiles also could be good for the waistline! Although like I said, I don't think it's going to be too much give. I actually think it could be quite a nice cushion for the feet. When I used to run a lot, I liked running on sponge-like surfaces as opposed to concrete. It was quite nice to take that pressure off the joints.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: How's this on the feet?
Rob Spiegel   4/25/2013 5:19:48 AM
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You're right about softer surfaces being easier on the bones, Elizabeth. One of the suggestions for running training is to train on grass -- because it's easier on the bones and joints while tough on the muscles -- and doing the race on concrete where you get your speed.

ScotCan
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Re: How's this on the feet?
ScotCan   4/23/2013 11:55:49 AM
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It's 5mm according to the article, and yes more calories will be burned. 3mm is tolerated generally and up to 11mm is not an inconvenience to pedestrians as long as it 's intermittent. 

Rob Spiegel
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Re: How's this on the feet?
Rob Spiegel   4/25/2013 11:42:22 AM
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Hey, ScotCan, do you know if this material is getting deployed anywhere yet? If so, is the energy capture significant?

ScotCan
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Re: How's this on the feet?
ScotCan   4/25/2013 12:02:10 PM
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Hi Rob, the last paragraph in the article suggested that the system generated enough power to run lights for 5 hours when installed outside a subway station in the United Kingdom. We are proposing a Proof of Concept on part of a jogging track in a local health & wellness center for evaluation purposes. A figure of 8 watts per foot step is mentioned. 

Rob Spiegel
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Re: How's this on the feet?
Rob Spiegel   4/25/2013 6:50:10 PM
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A jogging track is a good application for this technology, ScotCan. You just have to make sure you have joggers on the track. I've seen a lot of unused jogging tracks.

Elizabeth M
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Re: How's this on the feet?
Elizabeth M   4/26/2013 5:49:43 AM
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I agree, Rob, but you're right, you have to have joggers on the tracks to see how the technology is working. I did sort of imagine it would be like the technology you find on those types of tracks, though. Maybe it would be good on some kind of university track, where they have running teams practicing and hosting events.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: How's this on the feet?
Rob Spiegel   4/26/2013 11:40:54 AM
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That's a good idea, Elizabeth. Those runners are consistent. It's interesting the wide range of energy technology that's appearing these days. And these new energy sources are coming with technology to back it up. It's no longer just a dream.

Pubudu
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Re: How's this on the feet?
Pubudu   4/27/2013 12:02:51 AM
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True Rob, I am thinking of a jogging track which generates electricity for the social and jogger with shoos which generates electricity for himself and jogging itself giving a mean of health.......

There will be a new meaning for jogging. 

apresher
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Harvesting Energy
apresher   4/22/2013 5:31:04 PM
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Elizabeth,  Very interesting technology.  Any idea how early stage this company and how many installations they have already placed?  Thanks.

Charles Murray
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Re: Harvesting Energy
Charles Murray   4/22/2013 5:47:14 PM
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I'm surprised to hear that they can generate 8W for the duration of a footstep. Can you imagine how much power could be generated if you put these in a place like O'Hare Airport in Chicago?

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Re: Harvesting Energy
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   4/22/2013 11:51:46 PM
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I often am skeptical about the real potential for new ideas to go platinum, (so to speak), but I agree -- O'Hare terminal, or the Manhattan sidewalk are energy sources just waiting to be harnessed.   So, while there were many engineering points not clarified, I accept that's their proprietary right as the technology is being developed.  I decided to dig a little deeper; not so much to investigate the technology, but more to see how I could invest in it.  I learned they are still privately funded, but I'm going to put them on my radar. ( I missed DSL in the 90's and 3DP in the 2000's). This could be huge.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Harvesting Energy
Elizabeth M   4/23/2013 3:37:23 AM
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Yes, Jim, you're right that there are proprietary rights here, and the company did not want to divulge too much information about how the tiles were engineered, as they are still in the early stages of technological development. I'm sure you won't hear the last about this technology, though, so stay tuned for more. I do think it's quite innovative and has great potential, and with the high-profile installations that already have been done, I think it can only get better.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Re: Harvesting Energy
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   4/23/2013 8:12:33 AM
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Elizabeth –Your point of "high-profile" installations, while still being in relative infancy is precisely what piqued my interest.  As this was your article, I trust you also have them on YOUR radar --- so do you have any information for small investors getting on this band-wagon-?

Elizabeth M
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Re: Harvesting Energy
Elizabeth M   4/24/2013 3:29:42 AM
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Hi, JimT, what sort of information exactly are you looking for?

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Re: Harvesting Energy
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   4/24/2013 11:39:53 PM
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After Googl'ing Pavegen, I saw a few articles on their funding and finances.  It appears as if they are always seeking funding, (Seeking Angel Investors, and other Equity Partners) but I didn't see any indication of them planning an IPO.  So, I was wondering if you had information on their financial strategy for growth.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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A related Thought on the "Power of Crowds"
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   4/25/2013 12:14:23 AM
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One final and  very interesting point, Elizabeth; maybe you could post a new report on this [related] topic:  After reading how a crowd of thousands could be harnessed to generate electricity, it reminded me of another article where a crowd was harnessed to collectively "think" and solve complex scientific problems, in game-playing format.  The boundary conditions of the problems are defined as the "rules" and considering possible solutions is the "game".  Click the link to see how Carnegie Mellon's Computer scientist Adrien Treuille created and launched two such problem solving games, Fold-It, and EteRNA. I was absolutely awed and inspired by this story -- maybe you can share it with the Design News readers.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tech/adrien-treuille.html then click [ LAUNCH VIDEO ]

Thanks Elizabeth.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Harvesting Energy
Elizabeth M   4/23/2013 3:32:33 AM
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That is exactly the point, Chuck. I think these tiles--which the company hopes one day to make as cheap as regular flooring--can be a real energy game changer.

Debera Harward
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Silver
Energy from Footsteps
Debera Harward   4/22/2013 7:31:07 PM
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Elizebeth very surprising technology and if it really generates 5W of kinetic energy per footstep than it can be very usefull by placing these tiles in large malls because their is usually large crowd which when walk will help to produce large amount of energy.Secondly it can also be used Near Muslims pilgimage place Kaba where thousand of people are continously moving around .

William K.
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Re: Energy from Footsteps
William K.   4/23/2013 11:45:46 AM
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If these tiles are able to recover that much energy per footstep then it must be taking more effort to walk on them, since the energy can only be coming from one source, the walkers. While running on "bouncy" ground is more comfortable it does take more effort. Captured energy has to come from someplace, after all.

Another interesting thought is that if the sidewalk tiles communicate with something else they could probably serve to notify somebody that people are walking past, which might be a law enforcement concern if people were detected walking in some areas late at night.

Pubudu
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Re: Energy from Footsteps
Pubudu   4/26/2013 11:08:05 PM
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Exactly Debera, this is a fantastic innovation which will change the future.

Assume the deduction of the carbon fuel consumption which use to create electricity,  thanks to this innovation, 

Debera Harward
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Silver
Harvest Energy from footsteps
Debera Harward   4/22/2013 7:40:30 PM
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Other than this tile technology i have come across a japenese shoe technology as well which helps to generate electricity . The shoe looks like a sandal with a watery cushioned sole inside it when you  put weight on it the water sloshes to generate power ,Generator attached to each pair helps convert   the power into electric energy which helps to juice up your ipod or any electronic device .

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Re: Harvest Energy from footsteps
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   4/22/2013 11:59:58 PM
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Debera – I've also seen those devices that were designed to provide power from footsteps.  But each of them (I've seen several) always provided power to the individual, supplying partial power for the various appliances you mention, "on the body".

This idea shifts the paradigm to a much broader target market.  Using literally millions of pedestrians to power municipalities' needs.  Interesting how a simple change of perspective changes this "existing" concept into something new.

Reminds me of something Mr. Spock once said:  "comparing the needs of the one to the needs of the many".

Debera Harward
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Re: Harvest Energy from footsteps
Debera Harward   4/23/2013 12:54:30 AM
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Jim you are correct those devices provide power to only individuals and the kinetic energy produced was also less as compared to Pavegen.

Pubudu
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Platinum
Re: Harvest Energy from footsteps
Pubudu   4/26/2013 11:48:56 PM
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Jim T, I think that for the beginning is more than enough to have electricity for the individual from the foot step if it can charge may laptop battery it is more than enough for me. 

Pubudu
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Re: Harvest Energy from footsteps
Pubudu   4/26/2013 11:34:52 PM
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Debera, Great post, I would like to read more about this tech, if you have a link or photos please share with us.

I believe that this will be more practical than this floor method. And also it is very easy and cost effective to implement rather than changing the entire floor 

bobjengr
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Smart - City Energy
bobjengr   4/25/2013 7:36:46 PM
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Very informative.   Elizabeth is this technology similar to piezoelectric devices or is there another mechanism by which the energy is generated?  Also, do you have any additional information on storage? 

Elizabeth M
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Re: Smart - City Energy
Elizabeth M   4/26/2013 5:27:11 AM
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Hi,, bobjengr, the company was being a bit scant on details about how the technology works for proprietary reasons. I'm not sure offhand about storage but perhaps there is info on the company's website? http://www.pavegen.com/

Charles Murray
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Re: Smart - City Energy
Charles Murray   4/26/2013 5:55:19 PM
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I saw a similar technology developed at Purdue a few years ago, bobjengr. It used piezo technology, but I don't know if this one did, too. We may now be reaching a point where developers are going to provide scarce detail, as Liz points out.

dka
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Silver
a moral problem?
dka   6/27/2013 8:32:51 AM
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When the energy harvesting is done, and it goes back into the same system, I don't see any problems, but when you start harvesting human energy it opens up a whole can of worms!

We live in a place where we are free to make choices.  We expect to know in advance how much something is going to cost before we commit, and if we get charged more it's considered fraud.  If I walk on a sidewalk that takes more energy from me than a normal sidewalk and there is no option for me to make a different choice before I walk on it, is it fraud? I don't want to read a 10 page legal document before I enter an area, but it still seems like I should be given the choice before my energy is harvested.  What is the threshold?  Obviously, costing you your entire life, like in "The Matrix" is something no one would sign up for, but if it only costs 1% more is it "in the noise" and not requiring the opportunity to opt out? 

If the government issued every household a stationary bike with a generator and said to be a member of this society, each person has to spend an hour on it each day, we'd be up in arms! How is this different?

Am I the only one who sees a potential problem with my energy being harvest without my prior knowledge/permission?

Cabe Atwell
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Re: a moral problem?
Cabe Atwell   5/24/2014 1:40:24 AM
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Those tiles would be great on fitness center treadmills or even adapted for the soles of shoes to recharge mobile devices.

 

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