Human motion is transformed into electricity with the new deformable acrylic shoe revealed at Auckland University on Tuesday, 18 December.
The shoe was revealed by the university on Tuesday, December 18.
“This shoe feels just like a shoe,” said Dr. Thomas McKay, during a demonstration at the Auckland University Biomimetics Laboratory. “We’re generating energy here without affecting the experience of the user,” he added.
McKay presented the walking shoe with a difference at the site of invention where he and his partner, Professor Lain Anderson, worked on the innovation.
The shoe operates with soft generations that can capture energy produced by human movement. This is a step forward from the previous stiff and bulky items that have previously been considered for the conversion of energy from human motion to electricity.
The walking shoe performs while in motion with signifying Light-Emitting Diode (LED) lighting as heel meets surface, indicating the generation of energy.
The dielectric elastomer generator (DEG) consists of stretchable electrodes on either side of flexible silicone material. During the process of compression and relaxation, mechanical action is transformed into electricity.
The motion energy is not only sensitive to human action, but also natural energy such as winds, waves, vibrations of structures like bridges and buildings.
The dielectric elastomer generator (DEG) used on this new shoe design is an improvement on the previous models that still had the problems of charge leakage.
According to McKay the energy produced by this shoe can be used to charge a mobile phone while or after walking. Small bursts of energy can be stored as supply. Robot mobile recharges are also possible if the design is modified for compatibility.
“We think it could be a very good candidate for many energy-harvesting applications, as well as actuator applications,” Xiaofan Niu, a doctoral student in materials science and engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles, said.
Niu is working on durable elastometers, which will be able to last through a number of walks with the required stretching and relaxing.