May/June 2010

Power generator embedded in shoe

Dr. Ville Kaajakari, assistant professor of electrical engineering at Louisiana Tech University, has developed a technology that harvests power from a small generator embedded in the sole of a shoe.

Developed at Louisiana Tech's Institute for Micromanufacturing, Kaajakari's technology is based on voltage regulation circuits that convert a piezoelectric charge into usable voltage for charging batteries or directly powering electronics, according to ScienceDaily.


Kaajakari's breakthrough uses a low-cost polymer transducer that has metalized surfaces for electrical contact. Unlike conventional ceramic transducers, the polymer-based generator is soft and robust, matching the properties of regular shoe fillings. The transducer can therefore replace the regular heel shock absorber with no loss in user experience.

In addition to running sensors and inertial navigation, Kaajakari's shoe power generator can also be used to power RF transponders and GPS receivers.