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Off Grid Energy Independence
Posted on January 05, 2011

Shoe powered generator

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Dr. Ville Kaajakari, assistant professor of electrical engineering at Louisiana Tech University has developed a technology that harvests power from a small generator embedded in the sole of a shoe.
 
Kaajakari's innovative technology, developed at Louisiana Tech's Institute for Micromanufacturing (IfM), is based on new voltage regulation circuits that efficiently convert a piezoelectric charge into usable voltage for charging batteries or for directly powering electronics.
 
"This technology could benefit, for example, hikers that need emergency location devices or beacons," said Kaajakari. "For more general use, you can use it to power portable devices without wasteful batteries."
 
Kaajakari's device uses a low-cost polymer transducer that has metalized surfaces for electrical contact. Unlike conventional ceramic transducers, the polymer-based generator is soft and robust, matching the properties of regular shoe fillings. The transducer can therefore replace the regular heel shock absorber with no loss in user experience.
 
In addition to running sensors and inertial navigation, Kaajakari's shoe power generator can also be used to power RF transponders and GPS receivers.
 
"Ultimately, we want to bring up the power levels up to a point where we could, in addition to sensors, charge or power other portable devices such as cell phones."
 
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Source and image: Louisiana Tech University