Sole Power

Ten seconds left. Ring, Ring, Ring. Your phone constantly notifying you that it clearly needs to be charged before the life from it is sapped away. The reactions to many at this point would be a full on sprint to their desk, pushing everyone and everything in their way to reach their charger to save their phone from dying. Let’s be honest, everyone has this problem of having low battery when their phone is needed the most. How can this be fixed?

Two students from Carnegie Mellon University, both mechanical engineer graduates, were able to solve this constant problem for the low battery life of phones by literally, “Taking it one step at a time.” What I mean by this is, the students were able to utilize the kinetic energy that humans produce when walking to charge phones and other devices. This was done by having a removable sole that uses this kinetic energy when we walk.

The students did not know the project would end up resulting in something as big as this though. The original project was light up shoes that would illuminate the students presence on the road to avoid accidents. Only after presenting their information at an alumni event at their school, they were able to see the big picture in the project.

Sole power works in a simple manner. “It takes the linear movement of the step, converts it into a rotational energy, which then spins a generator.” The sole that is attached to the shoe takes the energy from walking then stores it into a USB. Both engineers boasted in the fact that they were able to perfect the art of harnessing the energy from walking. Something we do everyday.

Their product has sparked a project called SolePower and they are using this same technology in the shoes to market other products in 2014.



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