A Team of college students from Rice University (Houston, Texas) developed a prototype device called the PediPower, which is meant to be installed in the sole of the shoe togenerate power: “Every time you take a step, a lever arm is compressed, which runs a gear train […] that runs a small motor that generates electricity and charges a battery pack,” explained David Morilla, a senior in mechanical engineering at Rice University.

The PediPower can deliver an average of 400 milliwatts of power, enough to charge a battery, though the students see it as simply a proof-of-concept. The project was in fact sponsored by Cameron, a Houston-based company that is developing an artificial human heart and is looking for a power source that is reliable and always available. Assuming patients with these hearts are healthy enough to walk around, the shoe could provide the energy they need. This means that one day, cellphones, MP3 players just like artificial heart pumps may get charged up as their owners walk or run around in a pair of electricity-generating shoes designed by college kids.

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