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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Device Turns Your Sneaker into a Portable Cell Phone Charger

By: Megan Treacy

We write a lot about solar powered gadgets and chargers, but the reality is there is also a ton of power to harness from our own bodies. Piezoelectric chargers pop up every now and then but this one seems especially promising.
At the first ever Kenyan Science Technology and Innovation Week, 24-year-old inventor Anthony Mutua showed off a technology that uses your shoe to charge your cell phone or other gadgets while you walk. We most often hear of kinetic energy harvesters embedded in sidewalks, floors or revolving doors, but this idea lets you take that energy harvesting wherever you go.
As CNET reports, Mutua inserted a very thin "crystal chip" in a sneaker that generates energy as the sole bends. The device connects to your phone via a long cable so you can charge your phone in your pocket while you stroll, or alternatively, the device can store power for charging your phone when you arrive at your destination. It can also power multiple gadgets at a time, but you'd probably have to go on a long run to generate enough power for that. Another great reason to exercise though, right?
The device can be used in any type of shoe and can be transferred from one shoe to another depending on which pair you want to wear that day.
Kenya's National Council of Science and Technology funded the project with $6,000 so far. Mutua has already patented the technology and there are plans to start commercially producing it soon at a price of $46, including a 2.5 year warranty.