UK tech firm Pavegen has been harvesting pedestrian power with floor tiles that convert the kinetic energy of footsteps into electricity since 2009. Today, the firm has launched a new version of the tiles and, in addition to being more efficient, they are able to capture footfall data.
Pavegen's tiles are built in such a way that they afford a degree of movement when they are stepped upon, which can then be used to generate electricity. They are primarily aimed at being used in high-footfall public locations, but they've also been used at events like the Paris Marathon and to light football pitches in Brazil and Nigeria.
The firm says it is now shifting its focus to data capture as well as from electricity production. A new triangular design is said to maximize energy and data capture, with the new tiles said to produce over 200 times more power than the first version manufactured in 2009. Pavegen tells Gizmag that each tile can now output 5 W over the duration of a footstep.
The tiles are designed to be durable and simple to install, and are suited for both indoor and outdoor use. Energy produced can, of course, be put to any use, but the firm cites lighting and advertising boards as two common examples of city infrastructure that are well suited. It says that the tiles can be used to power off-grid lighting, perhaps illuminating a person's path as they walk along.
In being able to capture data, the new tiles have been positioned to better integrate with smart city infrastructure. They will make it possible to work out how footfall varies in different locations, as well as to track directional footfall and footfall patterns over time.
Pavegen has also partnered with Tribal Planet to create a mobile app. Having downloaded the app, individuals will be able to collect a "digital currency" each time they step on a tile. It will then be possible to trade this for rewards or charitable donations.
Pavegen says it can't disclose much in the way of cost for the new tiles at present, other than to say that they are far cheaper to manufacture than previous versions, as a result of a more stripped down design. Two installations of the new tiles have already been confirmed, at the Westfield shopping center in London, UK, and at Dupont Circle in Washington DC, US.