Electricity Generating Footwear - Generate Electricity By Walking (Concept)

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Did you know that you can produce electricity by just walking? Here's a little science experiment that will show you a little secret on making insoles that can charge USB devices! The challenge is to make a slip-on insole that can produce enough electricity to charge batteries/ USB devices.

Google Fair 2014:
This is my entry for Google's 2014 science fair. Please support us by hitting the like and share button on our YouTube video. The contest is YouTube based so getting a fair amount of likes and viewers would help a lot in getting us through the competition.

Thank you guys for the support! The project has qualified for the regional finalist and won a local award in GSF 2014! :D

Development of The Project:
The power generating soles are one of my first concept projects. I started my first prototype last five years ago although it was a very primitive, compared to my current design. My old prototype had two TO-3 plastic spacer sandwiched between two piezo discs. It produces a fair amount of current, enough to charge a Nokia 3310.

5 years later, I came back with the idea of using the sandwiched piezo setup, this time integrated to a charge collector and powerbank. So I thought, why not add 2 more pairs? After all, more is better.

Concept Behind The Project:
Piezoelectricity was present ever since mid-18th century. Piezoelectricity is the electric charge that accumulates in certain solid materials (such as crystals, certain ceramics in response to applied mechanical stress. This sounds familiar! Yes they do, you can actually find those piezo elements in your old/ outdated earphones from the 90's.

Why Not Use Dynamos?
As much as possible, I tried to avoid using dynamos. Yes dynamos produce more electricity but it will feel like you've stuffed a rock in your shoe. Don't forget dynamos will create a lot of noise.

Any Practical Uses?
As funny as it sounds, charging a phone with your shoe isn't really joke. Who knows maybe someday shoe companies like Nike could use these insole generators to power fitness chips (inside shoes) that would sync to your phone wirelessly. This way, you don't have to charge your smart-shoes just to sync them with your phone.

Disclaimer: This is just a little science experiment. It will show you the concept of producing electricity using piezoelectric elements. Don't assume that is close in becoming a product.

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efahrenholz3 months ago

I'm curious, since one side is somewhat elevated, how did you feel after the two hours? Any back pain or stress in the ball of the foot? Does it feel more spring like?

I certainly like the concept, piezos are definitely difficult to make work.

ASCAS (author)  efahrenholz3 months ago

Surprisingly, it feel comfortable. The foams are squishy enough to make the insole feel like a gel slip-on. When jogging a 10-20% energy loss is expected due to the gaps of energy production. Jogging for at least for 3-4 hours should charge the battery full. A walk should take 5-6 hours to charge a 400mAh full, due to the 40% energy loss.

Don't forget that these peizo elements produce more energy when jumping. The weight of the user/ subject also affects the amount of energy produced. The heavier the subject, the higher the current.

ASCAS (author)  ASCAS3 months ago


appleman123987 made it!9 days ago
HillaryF made it!11 days ago

This was pretty easy to make, even with my limited experience with soldering.


Hey! Can you help me? Please? Where can I purchase Piezoelectric Transducers (discs)? I've tried many electrical stores but still I can't find one.

nikshah2218 days ago
Hey buddy! I have a 25mm piezo discs. Are they big enough? Bigger ones aren't available.

BTW... awesome project!

could u plz send a diagram for putting 2 bridges diodes with 2 pairs of 35mm Piezo disc. i didn't get how to connect them.could please help me out .

bogart100119 days ago

This is a brilliant idea! I built one of these and here is what I observed. The piezoelectric transducer has a very high internal resistance ranging from a few mega ohms to several hundred mega ohms (depending on its dimensions). The volt meter may read a good amount of voltage when pressure is applied, but the piezo can only generate currents in the range of micro amperes. Adding a load resistance to the output that requires greater than 1.0mA of current causes the voltage to drop below 0.5 volts. To charge an ipod nano, you would need about 100mA of current while maintaining the voltage at 5.0 volts. But this is a great step towards the right direction. Keep experimenting! One day you will come up with something very interesting.

akothari523 days ago

I am trying to create this project for school, can you help me with how to connect the powerbank to the generator as i cannot understand the tutorial already given.

Laxbionic1 month ago

can i ask the schematic diagram of your circuit bro? were planning on large scale project like this one, but were using the ramps here in our school. thanks and more power :)

ASCAS (author)  Laxbionic1 month ago

The schematic is in step #10.

Laxbionic ASCAS26 days ago

where did you buy the piezoelectric transducers bro? were planning to make a larger scale of your project :)

commitdot1 month ago

@angelo i wonder if you sell some of your work or kung pwede mag order sayo?balak ko magtayo ng maliit na museum sa opisina ko at ang layunin ko mashare ang teknolohiya sa mga underserve schools na hindi kayang makabili ng mga parts. Mas higit mo akong maiintindihan kung isa kang innovator at discoverer. at nais kong maging libre ang pag download ng pdf. Gusto kong bumuo ng isang tindahan ng mga ganitong teknolohiya para masimulan ang pagdagsa ng mga magagaling na pinoy sa layuning "for the betterment of the earth and humanity" make, tweak, share, free, no patents, forward innovation. I know instructable is reading my comment here.

Hey Angelo,

Do you think you could explain Step 10 a bit more? I am still confused as to how you did that...


Zachary48011 month ago

Very well done! I do have a question though: how did you open the power bank? Mine is a little different but it is by the same people. It would be great if you could get back to me soon!

Thanks so much!

mnra1 month ago

bro i need to make this project, where can i buy peizo electric transducers ? ( i mean online ), please reply fast

Hey man, you really are the beast, no like really you are.

xenoophorus1 month ago

Copyright or patent doesn't really matter, unless you are making money from it. You can build anything you want. And should!...;^) You can tell other people how you did it. You just can't sell it. Some patent trolls would disagree, but, then, they are trolls...;^)


borgenproject2 months ago

So cool! I wonder if there is a way that this concept could help those living in developing nations? I recently learned about the power of having electricity with this article :

Also liked your lil disclaimer at the beginning. Be sure to always keep that modesty!
Absolutely brilliant concept as well as execution here on Instructables. I appreciate the amount of work you have put into this Instructable (although the hands-on stuff is more play than work to most of us :p), the attention to detail, in-depth explanations of each process involved, and especially your thorough research. I think that you would make an excellent professor! You're surely headed for much bigger things, though.
Rayti2 months ago

hi angelo. May i ask if you can be our speaker for a seminar? Pls reply if you are interested. Thank you

Rayti Rayti2 months ago

I am from UST by the way. Engineering department. Thank you!

commitdot2 months ago

We could all produce numerous insole design wherein the pizo is embedded on. This way we makers can sell separate products to shoemakers. There should be a specialize maker supplier then a hub where noob could buy modules and build it instantly on a cheaper price. They learn by doing, experience in making will actually give merits on your academic studies. It is tested by clever inventors. could we make a hub of modules?

This is not a propaganda, enlightenment is good for all of us, why do you make instructables on CC-licensed then let instructable sell your work by premium account? are you paid by writing all of this? or i may say all of us is enjoying.

We need to solve this, we need redundancy. open and free


commitdot2 months ago

@ascas I think you could try to install a bigger scale on the road of edsa which can power infoled, streetlights, emergency soundings. a long strip on the dashes of tires.

btw, can we buy a sample? for how much? and also can you tell us where you buy those materials if you could link us on this edublog.

Think again guys! are we enabled to innovate?


Hi Angelo. I'm a 9th grade student under a Science and Technology curriculum. I want more info about the charge collector circuit you added on the insole. Can I have photos of the updates? Also, I am wondering if the power bank loses the energy it has already collected. I'm hoping for your reply as soon as possible. Your response will be highly appreciated. Thanks :)

sunshiine2 months ago

You should add the yahoo article to this instructable! It is very impressive.

ASCAS (author)  sunshiine2 months ago

Oh sure, thanks! :)

sunshiine2 months ago

Ascas, I just saw this on yahoo congratulations! Keep up the awesome work! Sunshiine

Geeve George2 months ago

Hello Angelo,
I am Geeve George,I a am 14 year old from India.
I have a huge passion for Computer science.
My Project for the Google science fair 14 is "Voice Assistant For Visually Impaired Using 3D Reconstruction.
I have completed my project!Check it out at :
As you have lot of experience , Please do reply with your opinions.
Thanking you,

Hey great project! I made something similar to this about 2 years ago but I didnt think to add foam pushers so the buzzers eventually broke from being bent so much!

ZxxxY2 months ago

Lol! I had EXATLY the same idea when i was about 12 years old (im now 18). But my parents didn't allow me to tear my shoes and i didn't thought about double layer of modules. Props dude! nice one. Totally gonna build one soon :)

Joefer2 months ago

Apologies for going off topic but could you please tell me where you bought that Bose SL Mini? Did you buy it locally?

Do you think it would be possible to save up this electricity you generate and store it into some kind of electricity container? If so your invention has the potential to end pollution and poverty! I believe mabey one day everyone will have this technology on there shoe and as a community can combine there gathered electricity and apply it to power there city. there is billions of people on earth. mabey just one person cannot produce enough energy but together we can power our world

Except in the Americans don't really walk that much usually. :P

njunker2 months ago

Cool idea! Did pretty much the same exact experiment earlier on in the school year, except I had designed the device to go underneath the insole (I run cross country and track, so having the correct insoles is a must, or else you can get shin splints, foot pain, stress fractures, etc). Props on submitting this to the Google science fair - I simply dismissed my project once I was done with it, as the power generated wasn't good enough to charge a phone in a reasonable amount of time, along with the fact that I had already submitted it to the Siemens "we can change the world" challenge. I do suggest seeing if you can get a custom piezoelectric element the size of an insole, as it'd be interesting to see how more efficient it is. Good job, and good luck in the science fair!

Dbee162 months ago

Have you considered using a Buck (Step-Down) Converter so you can regulate the output voltage at a steady level that's suitable to interface with arduinos or other 3.3V or 5V module standards?
See here for more info on buck converters

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