Recharge your mobile phone while taking a walk.
Smartphones almost lead lives of their own. There is so much going on with all those apps running, sending huge files, uploading photos and videos, etc, that the batteries, quite frankly, barely cope. They tend to run out of juice rather quickly, because it's not anymore just about texting or making a couple of phonecalls. The industry knows it. And developers know it, so it's hardly a surprise that many are trying to figure out ways how to prolong battery life.
Project Hero (Harvesting of Energy in Rubber Outsole) was developed by Vibram and InStep NanoPower and is all about - yes, you've guessed it - making batteries last longer. It's a miniature system that can convert kinetic energy into electrical energy, which can then be used to power smartphones or other electronic devices. Specifically, it as able to generate up to a maximum of 3 Watts of power.
The Vibram system is a piece of wearable technology, integrated in the sole of a shoe. It comes with an electronic chip used to communicate via Bluetooth and an Android application to obtain real-time information on the battery level of the device, the number of steps recorded, the geo-location and the temperature of the foot. Energy is accumulated through a micro-USB port on the shoe.
The accumulated energy can also be used to keep your feet warm. Perhaps the only 'meh thing' about Hero is the fact that you would probably need to walk for about eight hours to fully charge a battery.
The project is still a prototype, so it is not officially known yet, when or if at all Vibram Hero will see the light of day. It's an intriguing piece of technology, though, so we're keeping our fingers crossed!