Scientists at the University of Hull are researching ways of turning human motion into electricity.

They are working on a prototype staircase that converts the movement of people walking up and down it into a power source.This project is similar to Human Powered Harvesting as discussed before on this blog.

It is hoped systems could be installed in railway stations or other public places with a large flow of people passing through.
If these generators were to be installed at the Victoria Underground Station in central London, the power generated by the 34,000 people moving around would be able to power approximately 6,500 lightbulbs.

How we can do that ?

There are mainly two ways to achieve that :

1. Using Piezoelectric Materials :
The word piezoelectricity means electricity resulting from pressure.A property certain materials have to generate an electric current when they are squeezed or pressed. For example, lead zirconate titanate crystals will generate measurable piezoelectricity when their static structure is deformed by about 0.1% of the original dimension. Conversely, those same crystals will change about 0.1% of their static dimension when an external electric field is applied to the material.

2.Using Gears:

The gears inside the staircase that are used to rotate the generator. The staircase has to be specially designed that can achieve a small displacement when being stepped on. The gears ratio and flywheel are optimized to get the maximum possible power out by driving the micro-generator. Alternatively, we can use a spring action with magnets and coils triggered by the staircase action to generate electricity./div>

Useful Links :

Electricity from Footsteps

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