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What's that in your shoe? It's a phone charger!


Published onMay 11, 2012

Our bodies create and use a ton of energy, and it could be going to better places, like, uh, your Android phone! If Cinderella were to live in the 21st century, she probably wouldn’t be very happy to hear what we are going to tell you today. 24-year-old Anthony Mutua from Kenya has developed an ultra-thin chip of crystals that can charge mobile phones when placed in shoe soles and the technology is set to go into mass production soon enough.

The chip, once installed into a regular shoe, generates electricity when you step on it, and can be harvested in one of two ways. You can either charge a phone while in motion through a thin extension cable running from your shoe to your pocket, or, you can choose to store the electric energy and charge your phone after you have stopped walking or running, after taking your shoes off.

Either way, there’s no doubt that this is cool, and you’ probably will want to start taking care of your shoes more if you choose to go for this innovative technology.

Mutua, the technology’s inventor, expects the crystals to go into mass production very soon, especially due to the fact that they can store energy, which could make them very popular for “people looking to charge phones as a commercial activity”. The Kenyan has failed to tell us if his crystals will be able to power any phone, “dumb” or smart, but has announced that the technology has the ability to charge several devices simultaneously. This is, of course, if you walk enough.

The chip can be inserted inside the sole of any shoe, with the exception of bathroom slippers, and you shouldn’t worry too much about deteriorating or wearing out your footwear, as the crystals can always be transferred from an old shoe to a new one.

The technology’s price in Africa is set to be quite affordable, especially considering that no one has really tried to bring something like this to market before. The equivalent of $46 will buy you a chip with a two and a half-year warranty, which will be fitted to a shoe of your choice in no time.

The National Council of Science and Technology (NCST) has funded the project with around $6000 so far, but Anthony Mutua has been promised additional financial help for getting the technology to mass production and to larger markets beyond Kenya.

Nairobi, the country’s capital, was the host of the invention’s official debut, at the recent Science and Innovation Week, but things have moved on very fast since then. The idea has already been patented by the Kenya Industrial Property Institute and there are rumors going around of private companies wanting to financially aid the further development of the project.

I personally think this is one of the coolest inventions I’ve had the privilege to write about in a long time, as it has the ability to provide an alternative and easy to use energy source for cell phones worldwide while encouraging people to do more physical exercise at the same time. Also, it might be nice to see a few girls wearing the same pair of shoes for more than two consecutive days for a change!

What you think, boss man?

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