When harvesting power from footsteps we use a flooring system that incorporates a matrix of hydraulic compression cushions. The energy harvested from every footstep pushes fluid through a micro-turbine, generating power that is stored in a super-capacitor. This electricity is then utilized locally.
When harvesting power from vibrations we use a magnetic beam and coil arrangement to power light fittings. The beam resonates in tune with ambient transport vibration within the generating coil. This electricity is then used to power LED emitters within the self-contained units.
The new technology has many potential applications including clean power supply to power streetlamps, traffic lights as well as to illuminate railway tunnels using vibrations from cars, trains and footsteps. The technology might also be incorporated on a personal level inside shoes allowing users to power consumer applications such as MP3 players and cell phones.
In an interview given to the BBC, a spokesman for the company said that within the next year tests will be conducted inside a building equipped with heel-strike generators which will harvest the energy from people walking across it. This power output will then be wired back to provide the lighting within that building.