“The word innovate has several different meanings,” according to Matt Stanton, CEO and co-founder of SolePower, a company that makes power-generating shoe insoles. “What it really means to me is to create something new.”
That’s what Stanton and his team have done with the SolePower insole, which is inserted into a shoe in order to convert the kinetic energy of a step into electricity. The insole works by taking the pressure of a person’s heel hitting the ground and using it to turn a tiny generator within the insole. The electricity is then transferred to a battery attached to the shoelaces. When the walking is over, the battery pack can be unclipped from the shoe and used as a charger for mobile devices.
According to Stanton, for every hour of walking the SolePower insole can charge a phone for a half-hour of talk time. While SolePower “Ensoles” are not available on the market yet, they can be pre-ordered on the website for an expected price of $199.00.
Having electricity creation be so closely linked to one’s body creates a unique connection between energy demand and supply, and increases awareness about what it takes to generate power.
This awareness can catalyze concern for other related issues, such as climate change. Stanton told Fusion that climate change in California, his current home base, is a big motivator for his passion for the project.
“It’s an interesting time to be involved in a startup that can help build awareness around this,” he said. “There’s going to be a technology shift, and a cultural change that allows us to slow down climate change.”
Over one billion people in the world still have trouble accessing regular electricity. SolePower has also created an all-inclusive sandal prototype with a built-in USB charger for people without consistent electricity access.
“Every small step really does make an impact,” said Stanton.
This is an episode of “In the World,” a series that features the people, places, and organizations across the globe that are on the forefront of the green energy movement.