PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania – Two graduates of Carnegie Mellon University have recently developed a way to power cell phones with shoes. The SolePower is their new invention which converts energy created from walking or running into electricity available for charging electronics.
The SolePower is an insert that can be placed into any pair of shoes to capture energy. The new device works by harvesting kinetic energy that is created each time a person takes a step, pressing their entire body weight down on the SolePower.
Walking two and a half miles with the SolePower generates roughly 1500 milliampere-hours of charge, enough to fully power an iPhone. The SolePower’s battery will charge in an even shorter distance from running due to greater forces endured by the sole at the time of impact an increased stride rate. The electricity generated by the SolePower is able to charge numerous electronic devices during physical activity through a USB port that doubles as a connection between the sole insert and a rechargeable battery. The battery pack of the SolePower is external to the sole itself and is secured around either the wearer’s ankle or on the top of his or her shoes.
The SolePower is currently being tested by backpackers and runners in the United States. Use by backpackers will test the device’s durability through extended use, and trial by runners will assess the SolePower’s performance while experiencing high impact.
The developers of the SolePower see their new invention as a promising way to generate electricity in developing nations. In areas where access to electricity is nonexistent or unreliable, the SolePower delivers a dependable and sustainable energy source for powering essential electronics. The inventors of the SolePower hope to eventually implement a “buy one, send one” program, through which each purchase of SolePower insoles would send a pair to a person in a developing nation.
– Jordan Kline