From Footsteps to Energy

Riverdale Country School, a private school in New York City, is installing tiles that convert footsteps into electrical energy.

The school says the installation is in the John R. Johnson Student Center, directly outside the school’s cafeteria. It consists of eight ramped tiles, two LED boards that give information about the technology (and also light up when students step on the tiles) and other signs. A monitor displays the amount of energy produced every time the tiles are stepped on (as well as total yield), and a mobile phone charging stand powers smartphones entirely through footsteps.

The goal for this pilot project is mainly education, with some practicality in terms of phone charging.  Student Zach Halem says the project started while he was working over the summer with Riverdale’s Director of Plant & Sustainability, David Patnaude, on Riverdale’s large-scale renovations.

“I had the idea to start my own sustainability project,” says Zach. “I had heard of kinetic-energy harvesting tiles and learned that there had never been a permanent installation in a U.S. school.”

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