WASHINGTON: A U.S. startup has devised a shoe insert that can transform energy generated from walking into usable energy to power portable devices, including mobile phones, GPS devices, and fitness trackers.
SolePower, now a live Kickstarter campaign hoping to earn $50,000 to take the product development further, aims to charge a mobile phone after 2.5 miles (four kilometers) of walking. Beta testing is expected this summer, with full production and shipping expected by the end of 2014.
A pledge of $75 buys you an insole, if you live in the US. For international backers, you’ll need to pledge $100 plus $15 shipping.
The insole fits into any shoe, with the usable electrical power stored in a rechargeable battery that you fasten around your ankle, which can then be plugged into a portable device for on-the-go charging.
While this could certainly be convenient for mobile phone users who burn through their batteries throughout the day, wearers of fitness trackers might also enjoy a fringe benefit to all that moving about.
The company adds: “A business person might use SolePower walking a trade show floor, a hiker would find SolePower very useful for charging cameras or GPS on long hikes, anyone in a natural disaster (i.e., hurricane Sandy) could use SolePower for emergencies.”
Another company offering a similar device is watchmaker Seiko, which offers a self-charging watch called Kinetic, reports Mobihealthnews. “In a crowded field where everyone is looking for an edge over the competition, it seems like it will only be a matter of time before we see an activity-powered activity tracker,” the website added.