24 year old Anthony Mutua of Kenya has developed an ultra-thin chip that, when placed into the soles of a shoe, can charge mobile phones . Basically, the technology can generate electricity when put under pressure, which would be a variant of the Electro-Kinetic technology, where the gravity-induced pressure from cars can create electricity. Anthony’s technology was among the innovations on show at the Science and Innovation Week taking place at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre in Nairobi Tuesday of this week. Through a process that he has patented with the Kenya Industrial Property Institute, Anthony’s technology has the capability to harvest energy and turn it into electricity each time a user walks.
He said that the chip is inserted in the sole of any shoe and that electricity is generated through the act of walking and running. He also said that electricity can be harvested in two ways. One way is to charge the phone while still in motion through a thin extension cable that runs from the shoe to the pocket. The other alternative, Anthony explained, is to charge the phone immediately after a walk because the crystals have the capacity to store the electric energy. Unfortunately, there’s no data no how much walking is required to charge a device like a phone, but to give you some context, it’s not unusual for people in certain regions of Africa to walk for hours every day to go on their normal business. Yet, previous Electro-Kinetic ideas like this have been dismissed in the past because they could not provide practical amounts of energy.
That didn’t prevent the Kenya National Council of Science and Technology of funding this project for mass production of the chips. David Ngigi, a Senior Science Secretary , said that the National Council for Science and Technology has been financing the development of ideas to prototype levels, but because most innovators lack funds for commercialization, innovations never reach the market. “We are changing this,” Ngigi said. When asked what to do in case a shoe equipped with such technology gets worn out, Anthony answered that you can always transfer it to a new one.