Every human these days needs a battery charger. Simple AAA batteries power dozens of mobile devices and need replacing frequently. According to the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) 2.9 billion or 170,000 tons of batteries are thrown into landfills as garbage each year in the United States alone. The availability of rechargeable batteries would seem to be, in part, an answer, but as more and more people depend on mobile devices to improve their lives, see “Africa’s Mobile Technology Revolution Raising All Boats“, sustainable battery replacements are key.
Now a new energy generating technology may help humans form a psychological connection between their own behavior and the power needed to run the gadgets they use.
Te-Chien. Hou, professor at National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan has created a “triboelectric nanogenerator” (TENG) which is built into a shoe’s sole and harvests human walking energy. Hou’s team employs “cycled contact-separation” between two chemical films to harvest “footfall” energy.
The current version of the shoe battery charger works best for charging watch batteries. Hou and his colleagues believe the technology can do more. They have created a demo in which power created by a shoe’s insole instantaneously lights up 30 commercial LEDs in series. Hou’s current shoe insole has a maximum output voltage of 220 V and a current density of 40 µA.
The technology takes advantage of what are referred to as “walking phases.” As a person walks the up-and-down movement of the heel in a walk or run gate generates electricity through a number of different devices that can be implanted into the sole of the shoe.
For more on this device, visit the Georgia Tech link.
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References and related content:
- Triboelectric nanogenerator for harvesting wind energy . | Related Videos
- Low temperature dependence of triboelectric effect for energy harvesting and self-powered active sensing
- A power-transformed-and-managed triboelectric nanogenerator and its applications in a self-powered wireless sensing node – Abstract – Nanotechnology – IOPscience