In today’s world, technology has become an integral part of our everyday lives. You can’t go into a public space without seeing someone with their head down in their phone. As technology becomes more accessible, and with the ever-growing population, energy consumption continues to increase. As a result, alternative sources of energy continue to be researched and developed in order to offset these energy demands. The energy industry has come up with alternatives such as fossil fuels, nuclear, thermal, hydro, and solar. Another source that is being looked at is the energy that we as humans produce in kinetic footfall.
One of the most common human functions that we perform everyday is walking, which in the process generates a lot of energy. Each step that we take causes pressure when the foot hits the floor and all the energy goes unused. If the ground surface you are walking on was engineered to harvest that energy, power could be generated from those steps and then used as a power source or stored and sent to a power grid. As an example, a person dancing on one of these floors can generate 5-10 watts. In a packed club, all of the people dancing in there could account for up to 60% of the total energy required for the club. This technology is continually being researched and improved, but there have been some applications of this technology that have already been used. This was used back in 2012 during the Olympics in a high foot traffic area, and trials have also been used in Las Vegas as well. As a way of marketing this technology and to try to get their product out there, companies producing these products are also adding different features than just being able to generate energy. One company is connecting their floors to streetlights that have phone chargers and that also serve as Wi-Fi hotspots so that your walking can also keep your phone going. This technology is also being looked at to be incorporated for different sports. The tiles that are used to capture the energy could be placed under whatever playing surface to generate energy, and they are also developing it so that it could track the player’s steps for data purposes. Advancements in technology are continually under development and they are making everything smarter from phones, to cars, to roads, to even the ground that we walk on.