We’ve all heard of solar power, but what about SolePower? One of the most frustrating, and common, things that many cell phone owners do is forget to plug their phone into the charger. This often leads to sticky situations when outside of the home. Regardless of how advanced cell phones have become, they still have to be charged, and failing to do so means that there is a pretty good chance that when we really need to use the phone, we won’t be able to because the battery is dead. A new Kickstarter project aims to provide a solution to this common problem in the form of the SolePower, a shoe insert that will charge your phone battery while you walk.
What is SolePower?
SolePower is an energy harvesting startup company that has created a prototype shoe insert that has the ability to charge portable electronic devices while you walk. The special shoe insert, named SolePower after the company developing it, fits into your shoe just like any insert would. A charging wire is then snaked through the shoe’s laces and attached to the battery, which can be clipped around your ankle or to the shoe itself.
One of the driving ideals behind the SolePower shoe insert is the potential to provide a viable device charging solution to the over 1.5 billion people in developing nations who have access to portable electronic devices, but lack the infrastructure needed to keep them charged at all times.
How does SolePower work?
As you walk, the kinetic energy in your steps is converted into electrical power via a small device embedded in the sole, and sent through the charging wire and into the battery. According to SolePower, a completely dead battery can be fully charged after only a 2.5 mile walk, which is not bad at all when you consider the relatively short length of time it takes to walk that distance. It is much quicker, theoretically, than a traditional charger.
While the technology behind the SolePower is, as yet, undisclosed for the most part, it is assumed that it makes use of multipleÂ generators and mechanical linkages to convert the kinetic energy produced by your footsteps into a usable form of energy. The great thing about the SolePower shoe insert is that once the phone battery has been charged, it is not necessary to remove the sole insert, as the battery itself is detachable. And since the device is both weather and water resistant, you don’t have to worry about walking in the rain, although you will likely want to take precautions to ensure that the phone battery itself is adequately protected.
How to get a SolePower Shoe Insert
At the moment the SolePower shoe insert is not available for purchase, as the device is still in the development and funding stages. The company, however, has released a tentative timeline, beginning with the current beta testing phase and ending, if all goes well, with production and distribution of the shoe insert by late 2014. In the meantime, however, the company is working very hard to ensure that the finished product meets both quality goals and expectations, as well as clinical recommendations for shoe insoles.