Leave it to a student in school to be at the forefront of clever ways to deal with our energy crisis. Elizabeth Redmond is a student at University of Michigan’s School of Art and Design who has started this project to see how to capture the energy created by the human body to power electronics. She is working on developing something called the Power Leap which harnasses the energy created by people walking on the floor!!!
I have heard of this in many different places so Elizabeth might not be the only people working on it but it it is a great idea. I read about a club in Europe installing something similar that takes the power of people dancing on the dance floor to power the lights and machines at the club!!
Here is how it works:
Floor tiles generate electricity using a phenomenon known as piezoelectricity – electricity generated by applying mechanical stress to certain materials like the lead zirconate plates in the POWERleap. When these 2-inch by 1-inch piezoceramic plates are bent, a charge is produced that can be harnessed. Multiply one tile by the surface area of a subway station or even your standard grocery store floor, and you can imagine the amount of energy these tiles have the potential to generate. (source: ecogeek.org)
Check out Elizabeth Redmond’s website to see more about how this works. She hopes that this will eventually be available at your local hardware store and something that is easy enough for a do it yourselfer to install on their own. I personally wish her alot of luck… it sounds like an easy solution that could provide us with the power to at least run our computers!