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3 January 2017

A self-lacing shoe that’s powered by walking

Researchers are working on a self-lacing shoe for the elderly powered by energy harvested from the act of walking.

A shoe that can lace itself?

Researchers in Germany are working on shoe-sized devises that aim to harvest the power generated by walking and will hopefully form the basis of a self-lacing shoe for the elderly.

They have built two separate devices: a "shock harvester" that generates power when the heel strikes the ground and a "swing harvester" that produces power when the foot is swinging.

It’s not nearly enough to charge devices such as a smartphone but it is enough to power small sensors and transmitters, opening up a range of new applications one of which is the development of a self-lacing shoe for the elderly.

Klevis Ylli, one of the researchers, says that the shoe would detect when a user stepped into it and lace itself up, as well as open up again when required. The harvesting device would generate energy for the closing mechanism.

The shock harvester sits snugly in the sole of a training shoe

The shock harvester sits snugly in the sole of a training shoe