Vibram Hero, your smartphone is charging walking

An innovative energy collection and distribution technology developed by mechanical engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has led to the creation of a shoe capable of storing energy by walking and recharge your smartphone.

When you are traveling and your smartphone’s battery is low, in a not too distant future you will be able to recharge the battery by plugging it … in a shoe. No, we’re not inventing anything: an innovative energy collection and distribution technology developed by mechanical engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison could reduce dependence on batteries of mobile devices.

Vibram Hero

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We humans produce energy, which means a new technology can ‘be stored and reused for example to recharge their mobile phone. The shoe able to do this was made by Vibram, an Italian company that produces rubber soles for shoes, in collaboration with InStep Nanopower, an American company specializing in the development of solutions based on nanotechnology in the fields of renewable energies, the patent owner.

In an article published November 16, 2015 in the journal Scientific Reports (via wisc.edu), Tom Krupenkin, professor of mechanical engineering at UW-Madison, and J. Ashley Taylor, a scientist in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UW-Madison, describe a technology that allows you to capture and store energy created by human movement and use it to recharge the battery of portable electronic devices, such as the smartwatch or tablet.

Krupenkin and Taylor have sought in recent months to partner with companies to create footwear that leverage their technology, especially cooperated with the startup InStep Nanopower to realize the ‘Hero’ project.

The technology is ideally suited for integration in a shoe, the best accessory that man wears useful to capture energy produced when it is moving.

“Walking generates a lot of energy,” says Krupenkin. “The theoretical estimates indicate that a person walking can produce up to 10 watts per shoe, and that energy is currently wasted as heat. A total of 20 watts per person is not a trivial matter, especially compared to the amount of energy which serves most of modern mobile devices “for food.

The shoe made by Vibram and InStep Nanopower consists of an integrated system of accumulation and transformation of energy produced by the man walk, called Hero, which is inserted in the midsole of the shoe and allows to generate up to 3 watts of power simply via a walk. In about 8 hours of walking, the device is able to accumulate 8 Wh of energy, sufficient quantity to keep charging the smartphone, among other devices.

Are many uses that can be made of tecologia and shoes that use them – might come in handy to the military, carrying heavy batteries to power their radios, GPS units, and night vision goggles when they are on a mission. Or, this technology could provide a source of energy for people who are in remote areas and in the process of development of the world, where you do not have adequate electricity grids.

Looking more ‘big, besides the system of collection and distribution of energy, the integrated system could also be equipped with special sensors useful to track the activities of the person; to this point, through a simple bluetooth connection (anything more ‘or less than they can today with smartwatch and other wereable) data collection could be sent to the smartphone, or via an application may generate statistics drawn on physical activity. For sure the sensors in the shoe are more ‘efficient, in terms of precision, compared to the sensors that are worn on the wrist.

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