Pounding the pavement in your sneakers requires energy, and unfortunately, all that kinetic energy is mostly lost to the ground…. until now… Smart art students Christian Croft and Kate Harman have devised a scheme to turn regular sneakers into energy generating machines using a mini-generator and a tiny micro-computer.

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Using a similar concept and technology to the kinetic energy harvesting in the Sustainable Dance Club, Christian and Kate experimented with different types of sneakers and different types of electricity generation before settling on the rolling concept using a pair of Heelys. The culmination of their sustainable energy generation project is called The Energy Harvesting Dérive – a simple hack combining a pair of Heelys rolling sneaker and an electricity generator that provides a new human-powered take on both transportation and energy.

Dérive is a Situationist International concept that refers to walking aimlessly, following the smallest whim (never let it be said that you don’t learn anything here at Inhabitat). By attaching a small motor to the shoe, they were able to get a small microcomputer and a LED screen to feed off the power generated from the shoes. The microcomputer feeds directions to the user in a random zigzag motion every 15 or 20 feet. As mentioned on their website: “The shoes force their owner to make choices about whether or not to challenge urban obstacles or interrupt automobile traffic when instructed to move in seemingly hard to traverse directions.”

Check out this video of the shoes powering LED lights:

+ The Energy Harvesting Derive

+ Kinetic Energy Harvesting: The Sustainable Dance Club

+ Powering your building with human motion