Innovation That Matters

Tiny chip inserted in the sole of a shoe can charge the wearer's cell phone


A Kenyan entrepreneur has developed a tiny chip of thin crystals, insertable in the sole of any shoe, which can gather and store energy as the wearer walks.

The ubiquity of cell phones has inspired countless creative ways to keep them charged, whether it’s through a pedal-powered table, a charging handbag or a USB-equipped urban bicycle — to name just a few recent examples. The latest spotting? A tiny chip insertable in the sole of any shoe that gathers and stores energy as the wearer walks. The brainchild of Kenyan entrepreneur Anthony Mutua, the new technology was on display earlier this month at the Science and Innovation Week taking place in Nairobi, according to a report in Kenya’s Daily Nation. The technology consists of an ultra-thin chip of crystals that generate electricity when subjected to pressure; placed in the sole of a shoe, it gathers energy when the wearer walks, runs and moves about. A phone can then be charged via a thin extension cable that runs from shoe to pocket, or energy can be stored in the crystals for charging purposes later. Mutua charges KES 3,800 to fit any shoe with one of his chips, and he offers a two-and-a-half-year guarantee. Mass production of Mutua’s chips will reportedly begin soon thanks to funding from Kenya’s National Council of Science and Technology. Mobile and energy entrepreneurs the world over: One to get involved in? Spotted by: Murtaza Patel



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