Shoes power mobile phone

Technology developed by DERA to generate electricity through the movement of walking will be put to the test by inventor Trevor Baylis when he walks across the Namibian Desert in June.

During the 100 mile trek Mr Baylis, famous for inventing the clockwork radio, plans to make the first telephone call on a mobile phone powered by walking energy to Prime Minster Tony Blair.

The DERA technology yields significantly more electrical energy than has previously been available from solid-state devices through walking.

DERA has created a way of converting the mechanical energy of walking into the electrical power needed to charge a battery through planting a piezoelectric devise in the heel of a walking shoe. The pressure and flexing action generates enough electricity to recharge a mobile phone battery. A new company, called The Electric Shoe Company, has been formed to develop this new technology and its potential applications.

DERA’s Technical Leader Dr Steve Mahon said: ‘This challenge required a team of experts that combined advanced materials knowledge with mechanical and electrical engineering expertise. The innovative solution now makes charging a battery through walking feasible. This energy can be used to power anything which needs a similar output, for example, torch batteries and Global Positioning Systems.’

DERA’s Project Manager Joanne Satchell said: ‘This is an exciting project which has been a great success. We all generate energy when we walk and now we can harness that power.’