New Smart Shoe Technology Generates Power While You Walk

Device opens up new applications for wearable tech

German researchers recently created a small shoe-sized device that derives power from the motion of walking.

In the journal Smart Materials and Structures the researchers describe the new technology as “inductive energy harvesters which exploit different characteristics of the human gait.”

“"This isn't the first time we've seen people attempting to harness the power generated from walking,” Kieran Alger, an Editor-in-Chief and freelance writer covering running, fitness, and technology, says of the development. “But with technology getting ever smaller, it looks like we're getting closer to something that would realistically fit within a shoe without adding too much weight or bulk.”

While the power generated from the devices won’t be enough to charge something like a cellphone, BBC Science Editor Paul Rincon wrote that the technology could be used to power sensors for wearable electronics.

“The power you get is actually pretty small, so sadly it won't solve our cellphone battery problems,” Alger added. “But it could have other useful applications for runners such as powering smart running shoe sensors that feed us info to help improve footstrike.”

He also said another application for the new technology might include providing power for small vibrations that would serve as directional signals when following a pre-set GPS route.

Klevis Ylli, a researcher from the HSG-IMIT research center in Germany told Rincon that the device was originally established as the basis for a self-lacing shoe for the elderly.