Right after the military sponsored Wearable Power prize was announced, Japanese innovation and telecom giant NTT comes up with a (kind of) consumer version of wearable power in form of a power generating shoe.
Their power shoe design is able to generate 1.2 watts of electricity, “a level sufficient to run an iPod mobile music player forever, as long as the wearer keeps walking,” said spokesman Hideomi Tenma.
He further explains: ‘The company is trying to improve the power-generating capacity to 3 watts, which is the amount of electricity to power a mobile phone.’
NTT is not the first looking into a power generating shoe as many previous concepts have done the same in various ways ranging from mechanical solution via gear boxes to the use of piezo material for electricity generation.
The idea to make use of some of the energy generated during the impact of the foot while walking or running is very appealing. But the way how to use this energy has to be sensible investigated.
Concepts like proposed by NTT to use the generated electrical power without storage but for direct charging a cell phone and ‘… talk on it forever as long as you connect the phone to your shoes and just keep walking’ might not make a lot of sense to consumers like me.
I cannot imagine having a power cable running from my shoes to the cell phone or iPod.
Charging a battery might seem a bit more useful but then again, using my shoes as battery charger – oh no.
Where a power generating shoe would make (perfect) sense is to feed sensors like the Nike+ or similar type of shoe sensors or shoe illumination that might come up in future and so create a power independent solution as the sensor or light only needs to be powered when someone walks or runs around. Now that makes perfectly sense to me.