Researchers in Germany are working on a new type of wearable that will help generate power collected when shoe wearers walk or run. The harvested energy can be used to power electronic sensors and other devices, with a long-term vision of no longer needing to plug in devices to recharge them.
The "shock harvester" generates power based on heel strikes and a "swing harvester" able to produce power when the shoe wearer swings one of their feet. During a recent test on a treadmill, the harvested energy is enough to power a temperature sensor and wireless transmitter responsible for sending data to a smartphone.
"One application we are working on is indoor navigation which means we have sensors within the shoe that measure the acceleration of the foot, the angular velocity - whether you're turning the foot or not - and the magnetic field," said Klevis Ylli, researcher from the HSG-IMIT research facility in Germany, in a statement published by journalists. "From the data from these sensors, you could calculate how far you have traveled and in which direction."