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.
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.
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.
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.
At this year's MD&M West show, lots of material suppliers are talking about new formulations for wearables and things that stick to the skin, whether it's adhesives, wound dressings, skin patches and other drug delivery devices, or medical electronics.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.