Just 15-years-old, Angelo Casimiro has invented a new way to charge cell phones by harnessing the power of people’s steps. The industrious teen has invented a device inserted into a shoe that converts walking into piezoelectric energy, which allows users to power up their phones while on the go. The smart shoe not only creates energy from steps, but could provide important energy for off grid users or people living in developing countries that have minimal access to electricity.
The Philippines-based student has been enthralled with the power of piezoelectricity for years, gushing about its 18th century origins on his blog. Noting that the average human walks around 7,000 steps a day, Casimiro decided to put this power to the test and invent a simple device that could power up phones, as well as radios, flashlights and any other devices that have a USB plug.
While Casimiro’s in-sole generator could be useful for every day walkers and off-grid enthusiasts, the project was inspired by the lack of electricity in many areas of his home country — the Philippines. Although the power generated isn’t enough for a fully functional home, the power made through steps can make a significant difference when there is no alternative.
The piece is not yet ready for mass distribution, but Casimiro has made the plans for the device open sourced so that anyone can create their own in-sole generators, hopefully helping those in areas without electricity. Casimiro also plans to add a GPS feature in the shoe for hikers who have gone off trail. The project qualified the brilliant young inventor as a regional finalist for Google’s 2014 Science Fair.