Walk N Charge, New Technology
With so many technologies and new devices flooding the market with their remarkable features, the difficulty of charging them still is a very big problem among all. The new smartphones need to be charged regularly and if no charge, then no phone.
One of the best technologies to solve this horrendous problem is Walk n Charge. As the name suggests, charge while walking i.e. the energy of your walking is converted through some device into electrical power which will easily charge low voltage batteries like Mobile batteries, MP3 player batteries and many more of our day to day devices.
Why do we need Walk n Charge?
Phones have become essential parts of our lives. So keeping them charged is also out utmost priority. Walk n charge helps you save some expensive electricity and keeps you healthy and fit. This technology comes with the dual benefit, easy on the pockets and beautiful on your body. The main concept behind the technology is to convert our mechanical energy, which we generate while walking into useful electrical energy so we can use it to charge our phones, mp3 players and even medical devices like pacemakers.
Two technologies have come up so far which efficiently convert our walking power into electric power. The first one is through a piezoelectric material while the second one involves electro- mechanical devices.
Piezoelectric materials are transducers which can convert mechanical power into electrical power and the phenomenon is known as piezoelectricity. When mechanical pressure is applied to the surface of the piezoelectric material, a corresponding amount of voltage is produced in the crystal which can be successfully used for charging our devices.
In walk n charge, a piezoelectric crystal is inserted in the heel of the shoe or placed discreetly in the shoe, so that whenever we walk, and pressure is applied, the crystal experiences mechanical stress and a substantial voltage is produced. This voltage is passed through a circuit and stored in a battery and then eventually used for charging.
The other technology of Walk n Charge is a Dynamo. A lot of you must have heard this word, but must not be aware of what exactly it is. A dynamo is nothing but a small DC generator. It is an electro- mechanical device, which converts mechanical pressure into electrical current. So as you start walking and your heel strikes the surface of the ground, you produce a little amount of current. This current when passing through a circuit and appropriate electronics, is then used to charge your mobiles.
How much you have to walk?
A walk n charge device can charge your phone for a day’s usage only in 20 minute walk as it produces the same amount of current as an AA battery does in 20 minutes. If we go into the statistics, if only 0.1% Indian uses this device, we can save carbon emissions by almost 2.25 tons per day.
The WNC device can produce up to 3.5 watts of power, if you are walking at a normal pace of 4km/ hour. In short, 20 minute of walking can charge your phone for the day. If you are running or jogging, you will be doing the same task in 10 minutes. If the WnC is worn on both the legs, 5 volts is produced which is just enough to run phones, music players, pacemakers, GPS system or even a robotic prosthetic joint in case of any handicap.
This technology is easy to use, keeps you fit and is portable and inexpensive. This clean means of energy will not only save electricity but fulfils your own needs of charging your lifeline phone.
How to use a WnC Dynamo?
The walk n charge device is usually worn on your knee. You have to wear it below the knee cap of one leg and to the other leg, extend a thin string. As you walk or run, the thread is pulled and retracted in every step and this provides the sufficient energy to the dynamo to build up electric current. A WnC dynamo generates up to 3.5 Watts of energy which is the sufficient amount to charge your phone and music player.
How did the idea generate?
The idea of walk n charge finds its roots from the unique concept used in Hybrid cars. In hybrid cars, the cars use the energy used in braking for generating electrical power. This is called as re-generative braking. When the car slows down after applying brakes, heat is dissipated and waited. In regenerative braking, this energy is used for generating electricity. In the same way, WnC uses the energy which is wasted in the form of heat when the body slows down after every step. This device was invented by Dr. Arthur Kuo of University of Michigan who commented that human body is a rich source of energy and stores as much energy as a 1000kg battery.
What makes WnC different?
The cost effectives of the device defines it uniqueness. Earlier devices like crank generators and hand pulled flashlights have also used the potential energy of the body but they cannot be used for long term, since our hands tends to get tired after repeating the same task again and again.
Walking is a part of everyday life and needs to be done to keep one fit. So WnC utilizes this aspect of our living to successfully charge our devices. The devices is economical and we if used for 1 hour every day while walking, we can recover the cost of an AA battery in mere 12 days.
Future is bright and healthy
The future scope of walk n charge technology is immense. This clean technology gives an easy way for the user to run or walk anywhere to charge their phones, in case of any emergencies. The fear of dying batteries will be completely eliminated by WnC. In the future, it is estimated to generate more than 3 W of power from WnC so other devices like GRS systems, microelectronic devices and smartphones can also be easily charged without the fear of low charge.
The piezoelectric material does not produce very high voltage; it is only about 150 mW which is only sufficient to charge a battery at a slow pace. But in the future, more piezoelectric materials can be found and upgraded to reach upto 3 W of power. The dynamo can produce much higher current and thus have more power but their design is more complex and they are more costly in comparison to the piezoelectric crystals.