Heel-Strike Generators Will Harness Pedestrian Power

Heel-Strike Generators Will Harness Pedestrian Power

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Taryn Williford
Oct 13, 2008

It's no secret that people worldwide are putting some energy—no pun intended—into finding alternate energy sources. The latest shining example comes from the UK, where plans are underway to harness the power of pedestrians. The technology works using underfloor generators powered by the footsteps of pedestrians on compression pads. The pressure of the footsteps on the pads drives fluid through mini-turbines in order to generate electricity, which can then be stored in a battery. What could this mean for you and your iPod? Find out after the jump...

Generally this kinetic energy goes to waste, but by making energy from the movements of people and things, you open up the possibility to have zero-power structures. And not just from footsteps. The power has been tested on the movement of trains and also the swaying movements of tall buildings and towers. Ideas for the use of strike generators also reach as far as your shoes, making your footsteps into the power you need to power your iPod on the go.

The first large-scale application of the technology could be to collect energy from visitors walking up and down the stairs to the Spinnaker Tower viewing platform in Portsmouth, UK.

Studies of foot traffic at London's Victoria Underground train station showed that the average 34,000 travelers who pass through the station each hour have the potential to power 6,500 light globes.

[ via Times Online ]
[ image from victoriapeckham @ Flickr ]

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