Thanks, bobjengr, for putting this all in perspective. It's the point I was trying to make--that kids these days are really thinking out of the box and coming up with some cool inventions. This shows a lot of promise for engineering for the future and also shows that not all kids are out there like zombies in front of video games. :)
This young man has a brilliant idea and seems to be thinking of a better implementation than the previous source mentioned. What would work best is to have a pair of battery cells in a holder on the top of the shoe so that the entire system would not need any long and fragile wires. In addition it would keep the cost and complexity at the least expensive level and possibly make the whole assembly into a candidate for additive manufacturing. That would be handy, although it might provide more jobs to have the whole assembly be done with hand labor.
I think the point is, this young man is thinking and inventing and basically unafraid to work with concepts. That's the way a promising career starts. It seems as though GOOGLE realizes that.
I had no idea the "average" individual takes 7,000 steps per day SO, why not put those steps towards energy harvesting? It really seems like a logical conclusion to me. We all seem to be glued to our cell phones and panic if we forget to carry the device when leaving for work (or school). To recharge "as you go" would be the solution to a dilemma. I give this fifteen (15) year old a great deal of credit for his forward-thinking.
I own 1 phone and 3 pairs of shoes (my wife, on the other hand...). So either I have a charger in each pair of shoes or a 1/3rd chance of not having the charger with me when it would be useful. I also tend to carry my phone in my pocket, rather than my sock.
However, I do wear a wristwatch, constantly, which is powered by nothing more than the movements of my hand, using a small asymetrical weighted wheel and a pawl-and-ratchet mechanism. A similar setup could be used to power a phone charger, especially for those who engage in sporting activities with their phines strapped to their arms in special holders (you see joggers and cyclists wearing them).
Those are good points, Daniyal. I am sure there would be a good demand for this product especially for heavy mobile users who are really active and on the go and can't spend time charging their phones throughout the day. True that when something comes out of the lab to the commercial sector it really has to be ready for prime time. It's one thing to be first to market, but if your product is lackluster you will surely end up last.
Nice share Liz. I also saw your previous articles about the same idea. The concepts are very nice and seem very practical too, but still i don't see a significant achievement in the market. The companies like Solepower claimed to make the product public in 2012 and still there isn't much energy being produced using their product. What we need to do is to make the implementation process stronger so that these unique ideas hit the market the way they are supposed to.
If Google declined any project which might infringe on a patent, nothing would get through. Patents usually cover a wider stretch of technology than is evident in the final patented product, so that you can't get away with marketing an almost identical design.
On the other hand, generating electricity to charge a battery from piezo-electric transducers is hardly cutting edge technology, so the first assumption is that it must have been patented at some time (at least once). Then its just a simple matter of looking for the patent using keywords such as "piezo", "footwear", "charge" or "battery".
Interesting, maybe his design is a bit different. It seems strange Google would accept a project that might infringe on a patent. I know the technology already has been invented but wasn't sure about the patent.
It seems that The Google Science Fair is really a gold mine for finding creative and innovative teen inventors who will hopefully turn into the future engineers of tomorrow. This idea for an energy-harvesting insole isn't new but it's still an interesting design and impressive work to come from the mind of a young person Let's see how Angelo fares in the fair! I'm sure a lot of iPhone users would welcome such a device.
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