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Thermoelectric boots charge your mobile phone

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June 8, 2010

Orange Power Wellies - power collected in the power generating sole is generated via a pro...

Orange Power Wellies - power collected in the power generating sole is generated via a process known as the Seebeck effect.

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European Telco Orange is showing off an interesting phone charging prototype – a set of Wellington Boots with a ‘power generating sole’ that converts heat from your feet into electrical power to charge your battery-powered handhelds. You'll need to walk for twelve hours in your “Orange Power Wellies” to get an hour of battery life but we still think it's remarkable that such significant amounts of energy can be harvested from normal human activity. In order to decrease the length of time you need to charge your phone, try dancing or running, because the hotter your feet get, the more energy you produce.

The “Orange Power Wellies” were created in collaboration with renewable energy experts GotWind, with the vision of keeping Glastonbury Festival goers connected with their friends during the event.

After a full day’s festival frolics you can plug your phone into the power output at the top of the welly and use the energy that has been generated throughout the day to charge your phone. The power collected in the ‘power generating sole’ is collected via a process known as the ‘Seebeck’ effect that sees temperature differences converted directly into electricity.

Orange Power Wellies convert heat from your feet into electrical power to charge your hand...

Inside the power generating sole there are thermoelectric modules constructed of pairs of p-type and n-type semiconductor materials forming a thermocouple. These thermocouples are connected electrically, forming an array of multiple thermocouples (thermopile). They are then sandwiched between two thin ceramic wafers. When the heat from the foot is applied on the top side of the ceramic wafer and cold is applied on the opposite side, from the cold of the ground, electricity is generated.

The Orange Power Wellies are the latest innovation in Orange's efforts to find alternative, sustainable and eco-friendly mobile phone charging technologies that can be used at the Glastonbury Festival. Previous projects have included the Recharge Pod powered by wind and solar energy, the Dance Charger that drew upon kinetic energy created by dancing, and the Orange Power Pump which uses the energy created from a traditional foot pump and converts it into electricity.

Orange's Glastonbury blog will be launching in mid June.

7 Comments

Yep... the human body produces around 40W of heat...

But there's a little caveat: if you harvest it, you lose the heat, therefore your feet get colder. The goal of any insulation is to prevent the heat flow, and therefore heat losses, on which these generators rely.

However, I guess the heat loss will be small in this case...

Gavrilo Bozovic
8th June, 2010 @ 01:47 am PDT

I'm waiting for the thermoelectric underpants.

avidreader
8th June, 2010 @ 09:34 am PDT

this is seriously cool! I can imagine it will take off in Japan where everyone wears gum boots. Don't think heat loss will be an issue - usually feet get too hot in gum boots!

Kate Seamer
8th June, 2010 @ 08:22 pm PDT

The images look like a 3d model stuck onto some stock photography. Not many people wear boots like that, and if you did would you pay the additional cost just so you can charge your phone... I doubt it.

subscribe
8th June, 2010 @ 09:21 pm PDT

does anyone find it creepy that there is a noticeable trend towards human-powered gadgets?

Pranav Vissanji
8th June, 2010 @ 09:29 pm PDT

More power from us! Human powered gadgets are fueled by food, the ultimate vampires, eh?

TogetherinParis
10th June, 2010 @ 03:27 am PDT

It's quite silly to use the temperature difference between the feet and the outside world to generate electricity. It's much more efficient to use the difference between the underwear and the outside world. There's more of a difference, and the wearer doesn't need to wear those big, hot, uncomfortable boots.

HenryFarkas
13th August, 2010 @ 11:05 am PDT
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