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DIY Toolkit Creates Electricity-Generating Sneakers

DIY Toolkit Creates Electricity-Generating Sneakers
technology

These instructions teach people how to make insoles that will charge batteries by walking.

Tiffany Nesbit
  • 10 june 2014

There are new devices being created every day that aid in finding new sources for renewable energy, but the large majority of these products depend on wind, water, and sunlight. If we become overly reliant on these kinds of methods, we will be very lost should those three elements become scarce. In under-developed countries, this is already a large concern, so a 15-year-old Philippines-based future engineer set out to find an alternate way of generating energy.

According to his Instructables profile, ASCAS has been designing projects since he was a child, most of which revolve around electronics, woodworking, or robotics. Five years ago he came up with an idea of using piezoelectricity (an electric charge that occurs in response to applied mechanical stress) to generate energy from sneakers as you walk. He created a prototype that could produce enough energy to power the battery of his Nokia 3310 phone; but smartphone batteries require a lot more power. ASCAS wanted to try to create a more advanced generator, and he succeeded. He created a pair of energy-generating sneakers as an entry to to Google’s 2014 Science Fair, and if you follow the steps below, you too, can begin generating energy.

energy-sneakers-materials.jpg

Materials and Tools:

– USB Powerbank, old phone batteries, or recycled 5v Inverter

– 6 Piezoelectric Transducers
– 4 1N4007 Rectifier Diodes or an earpiece from the 90’s
– 12″ or longer Hookup Wire
– Old Pair Of Shoes or Sneakers
– Contact Adhesive
– Digital Multimeter
– Pliers

– Rotary Tool

Optional:

– Velcro Hoop & Loop Fastener

– Smartphone Sport Strap

Step 1- Gather materials

Step 2- Measure the size and shape of your shoe’s insole, then carefully cut the PVC material. The material must be between 2-5mm thick.

Step 3- Surround the PVC plate with three piezo discs and trace the discs with a pencil. Using a compass, draw 2mm circles in radius to act as your margin.

Step 4- Use rotary tool to grind holes on PVC pads.

Step 5- Use contact adhesive to glue on the piezoelectric elements, then solder all piezo elements together in parallel.

Step 6- Build a bridge diode and dolder the peizo discs to it.

Step 7- Glue a small piece of foam to the center of each piezo disc, then slip the generator between the shoe and insole.

Step 8- Add the powerbank to the exterior of the shoe and start walking.

electricity-sneakers-insoles.jpg

ASCAS says the voltage peaks at 28 volts, and is efficient enough to charge a lithium battery, TLC Bluetooth Transmitters, and Micro Controller Units. He will continue running tests, to improve the feel of the insole inside of the shoe and the competency. ASCAS hopes that one day a company like Nike might use this method to power fitness chips that would sync to your phone, or hikers could use these special insoles for tracking. One thing that is certain- the world of technology can expect great things from this innovative young mind.

Instructables

[h/t] Treehugger

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