Similar to AMPY, SolePower is another new offering in the realm of wearable technology that turns your movement into power for your smartphone. With SolePower, simply walking generates power through a shoe insole (“EnSole”) that hooks to a charger (“PowerPac”), which is easily attached to your shoelaces. You can charge your mobile devices through the PowerPac’s USB port.
According to SolePower founder Hahna Alexander in an interview with Smithsonian, SolePower holds a unique position in this growing field of energy harvesting technology: “One hour of walk time with a pair of EnSoles provides 2.5 hours of talk time on a smartphone. There is no personal power generator on the market that can match both the EnSole’s power output potential and low-profile and seamless integration with the user’s natural motion…every step you take is a step closer to a full battery.”
Multitasking At Its Finest
With SolePower, you can get some exercise, create power to charge your smartphone, and help conserve energy all at the same time. It’s no wonder SolePower made BuzzFeed’s “27 Reasons It’s the Greatest Time to Be Alive.” That’s one of the more lighthearted articles covering SolePower. It also garnered attention from the likes of Popular Science (winning one of the magazine’s coveted 2014 Invention Awards), Forbes, The Huffington Post, and dozens more. (See all the press coverage here.) It was enough to earn SolePower $60,000 in just 45 days on Kickstarter.com and thousands of pre-orders.
Powering the Future: Energy Harvesting
SolePower and AMPY are just two start-ups who are making breakthroughs in this field, and there are many more on the horizon of this seemingly science fiction world. But according to Wearable Technologies, “energy-harvesting wearables have been around for many years. Automatic watches have been converting the energy from arm movements for a while now and Seiko has even invented an electromagnetic generator that powers its quartz watches by its wearers’ physical movements.” The difference now is that our devices are more sophisticated and require more energy to run, so some of the innovations in the future will be focused on solar cells, thermoelectric harvesting, and piezoelectric harvesting. If I lost you at “solar cells,” you’re not alone. For the complete explanation of all of this fascinating technology, check out “Energy Harvesting for Wearables.”