Energy Harvesting Footwear

This invention allows walking to generate electric energy via a pneumatic motor in the sole of shoes that can be used to power a GPS receiver and manage the location of children, soldiers, the elderly, or anyone wearing the device.


Ruize Xu / Kelsey Seto / Haluk Akay / Sang-Gook Kim

Departments: Department of Mechanical Engineering
Technology Areas: Energy & Distribution: Energy Storage

  • energy harvesting footwear comprising three compressible volumes
    United States of America | Granted | 10,973,276



This footwear uses a pneumatic motor including two micro-turbines located in series to harvest energy. Each micro-turbine is operatively coupled to a separate generator. The pneumatic motor is fluidically connected to several air bladders positioned in the shoe, and as someone walks or runs in the shoes, they force the air in the bladders back and forth spinning the micro-turbines and generating energy that is used to power a GPS receiver.

Problem Addressed

Human locomotion typically dissipates large amounts of energy on the order of about 10W to 15W. Prior attempts at harvesting this energy using materials such as piezoelectric materials incorporated into the shoes has only resulted in the ability to harvest about 1 mW to 5 mW. However, during a walking and running test of the proposed device the average power output was 86 mW.


  • Increases energy harvesting
  • Ability to follow a person’s geographic location via their footwear



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