Charge Your Smartphone By Strapping On Your Running Shoes

Charge Your Smartphone By Strapping On Your Running Shoes

If you ever needed more motivation to strap those running shoes on and get exercising, the Auckland Bioengineering Institute’s Biomimetics lab may just have your inspiration.

Instead of plugging your smartphone into a wall charger or your computer, the future could see physical exercise as an option for charging your mobile device. To make use of the energy generated by physical movements such as walking or running, Dr Thomas McKay and Iain Anderson have built electric generators that they believe one day will be able to keep your mobile devices going.

Charging your phone by walking

Source: Fairfax NZ

Associate professor Iain Anderson, explains the science behind the development:

“When you walk, you flex your legs and strike your heel on the ground, and you swing your arms. The rubbery heel is used to buffer the impact with the ground. Imagine if you could take that buffering, that energy-absorbing bit, and use that in a positive way.”

Basically, a normal shoe will dissipate energy as heat when it hits the ground, however, this technology is able to take this energy and turn it into electrical energy via thin stretchable generators. McKay and Anderson have managed to take previous research from SRI International (a US based research institute) and refine the technology into smaller, lightweight generators.

Indeed as McKay explains,”before we started doing what we are doing you had to have quite a big high voltage power supply and complicated switches. We have eliminated that big bulky stuff so you can put it into a shoe.”

Ultimately, they hope to be able to use this technology to power other wearables such as iPods or heart rate monitors, “We are moving into a world where we have all these extra capabilities and wearable systems – we’ll need some way of powering these wearable systems.”

Other alternative methods for charging our mobile devices and wearables have already been realized, such as charging by water, heat, solar power and various other sources of energy, which points to a great future where the panic of trying to find a computer or power point will be a thing of the past (with more eco-friendly power sources to boot!).

Source: Fairfax NZ

Would you make use of this kind of technology to charge your smartphone?