The festival-loving people at Orange have come up with yet another novel mobile charging prototype. Last year Orange unveiled a solar-powered tent concept and this year, in collaboration with renewable energy experts GotWind, it’s come up with power generating wellies.
The ‘Power Wellies’, as Orange is calling them, convert heat from your feet into an electrical current. According to the blurb, twelve hours of stomping through the Glastonbury Festival will give you enough power to charge a mobile phone for one hour – the hotter your feet get, the more energy you produce.
In case you’re wondering what the science behind them is… Inside the power generating sole there are thermoelectric modules constructed of pairs of p-type and n-type semiconductor materials forming a thermocouple. These thermocouples are connected electrically forming an array of multiple thermocouples (thermopile). They are then sandwiched between two thin ceramic wafers. When the heat from the foot is applied on the top side of the ceramic wafer and cold is applied on the opposite side, from the cold of the ground, electricity is generated. Simples.
It might sound a bit barmy but using foot power, whether it’s heat or movement, to power other devices is a great idea. Pavegen Systems, for example, is testing out pavement slabs which generate power when people walk on them, and then it uses that energy to power street lamps. When you think about how many people walk through the tube then foot power starts to make a lot of sense.