Power walking

Published on September 30th, 2011
Power walking

Imagine a place where all the roads, bridges and sidewalks generate electricity from the vibrations produced by the cars and people that move over them.

Sounds like the plot straight from one of those futuristic movies doesn’t it?

Meet Kohei Hayamizu. He’s a man with a bold vision for the future: a city that is in itself an electric power station.

Revamping a whole city is a bit daunting, so Kohei started his endeavor by transforming only one square meter into an electricity generator. This is no ordinary ‘one square meter’, though. He chose his location wisely: four sheets in the pavement of the world’s busiest pedestrian areas – the Shibuya train station crossing in Toyko, Japan where everyday 900 000 people pass by.

The system is based on the technology he developed at Keio University’s Graduate School of Media and Governance, and makes use of “piezoelectricity”, a property certain materials have to generate an electric current when they are squeezed or pressed.

During the entire 20-day period of his installation, the ‘one square meter’ generated enough electricity to power 1,422 televisions for one hour.

We could take it a (literal) step further and have your shoes generate energy as you walk, at least enough to power your own devices like phone or camera. The futuristic shoes currently generate 1.2 watts of electricity, enough to run an iPod forever, as long as the wearer keeps walking.