SolePower Can't Recharge Busy Mom, But It Can Charge Her Phone With Every Step
SolePower is making it possible to charge your portable electronics by doing what most people do every day: walking. They are also feeding right into the feet of multitasking moms who never sit down. By using a power-generating insole, a portable Power Pack stores enough energy to charge a cell phone after 2.5-5 miles of walking, which is what the average person walks each day. I’m not sure how many miles a day I walk, but with three young kids, I’m sure I clear the 10,000 steps or 5 mile mark. SolePower can’t recharge Mom, but it can charge her phone.
As Carnegie Mellon students, Hahna Alexander and Matt Stanton invented a way to power LED lights embedded in a shoe. They took the idea of harvesting energy created by a heel strike and person’s gait and turned it into a product that can power most electronic devices chargeable with a USB cable.
SolePower is a cut-to-fit insole that can be placed—and removed—in any shoe. It is water and weather resistant and can withstand 100 million steps. That’s a lot, even for a mom walking the sidelines at her kid’s soccer tournament. Only one insole has the mechanism responsible for converting walking into renewable power, but when you buy SolePower, you will receive two podiatrist approved insoles for balanced walking.
The insole’s cable connects to an external battery, or Power Pack, that can be worn around the ankle or clipped onto shoelaces. The Power Pack is also waterproof and can be easily detached to plug into your phone for on-the-go, no electricity needed, charging.
Perfect For Moms
When that little battery indicator at the top of my phone screen goes from green to yellow, I start to panic. I am guilty of having my phone with me a lot, like all of the time a lot. I stream music and talk radio. I spend too much time reading stuff I find on Twitter. And I take too many videos and pictures of my kids. I don’t like the pressure of choosing between conserving battery power and watching a clip on BuzzFeed. What if my phone doesn’t have enough juice to take another picture of my adorable kids, well…doing something adorable? Damn you BuzzFeed.
But with SolePower, my problems of inconvenience are gone. Playing at the park, hiking, or walking from room to room, transferring my twin boys to different locations will exhaust me but give me enough energy to keep my phone charged. And I can add one more thing I am capable of doing while going for a walk while holding a cup of coffee, while holding a dog leash, and pushing a stroller.
Solving Bigger Problems
Spending 20 minutes recording my daughter’s attempts to do a flip on a high bar is a luxury. But the inventors of SolePower created a product that can solve real energy problems around the world. A dying cell phone is an inconvenience for me, but is a matter of advancing science, education, and innovation in places like Africa, where there are more cell phones than sources of electricity. SolePower’s concept can also address lighting issues, or energy poverty. Alexander and Stanton hope their product can give people in developing nations an affordable, efficient, and cleaner way to generate electricity for basic needs like lighting and cooking.
To stand behind their belief in solving a bigger problem with their product, SolePower has a buy one, send one program where someone in the United States can buy two insoles and have another sent to someone in need in a developing country.
SolePower recently won one of Popular Science’s 2014 Invention Awards as well as the Africa Energy Award for Innovator of the Year. To learn more about the science and inventors behind SolePower, check out their Kickstarter campaign, which has been fully funded.
You can’t buy SolePower insoles just yet, but you can pre-order a pair and follow their progress on Facebook or Twitter. I looked around their website, but I couldn’t find a place to buy insoles that will power moms. Keep working on it, Hahna and Matt. If you can find a way to recharge moms, you can solve all of the world’s problems. For now, thank you for charging my phone.