Energy harvesting footwear using solenoids

Placed in the sole of a shoe, this device uses magnetic induction to produce and store energy useful for small electronics


A Marine tightens his boots before a ruck march. (USMC photo)

Humans average between 5,000 and 7,000 steps each day and Navy researchers have invented an insole that uses each one to create energy.

While the energy harvested from a single step may be small, the amount that could be captured throughout the day is substantial and is certainly enough to power low energy devices like tablet computers or smartphones.

There have been past attempts to harvest the energy resulting from compression and decompression of heel strikes. The amount of energy collected is limited by the relatively¬†small displacement of the heel’s compression-decompression distance.

In contrast, this Navy system to harvest energy from the walking foot multiplies the effects of each step. Using magnetic induction, energy is produced inside a shoe insole containing several solenoids. The energy can then be stored in batteries or capacitors.

The US patent 8,692,396 described here is related to US patents 8,692,397 and 8,680,698.

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