Greenwish #16 designs by Horse
As if walking doesn’t have enough elephant stamps when it comes to the environment, a researcher at Louisiana Tech University has now designed the ‘Piezo Power Shoe’. It contains a tiny generator in its sole that can charge batteries or power small electronics. Each step converts the wearer’s footsteps into electricity!
Piezoelectric materials exhibit the unique property known as the piezoelectric effect. When these materials are subjected to a compressive or tensile stress, an electric field is generated across the material, creating a voltage gradient and a subsequent current flow. These materials come in several different forms, the most common being crystals, but they are also found as plastics and ceramics.
There are several companies and research institutes throughout the world who are focusing on finding useful applications for piezoelectric energy sources. Several years ago a project at MIT entitled “Energy Scavenging with Shoe-Mounted Piezoelectrics” was carried out. The researchers lined the bottom of a shoe with piezoelectric transducers and saw what kind of power they got out of it. They eventually attached a transmitter to the shoe that was powered by the piezoelectrics.
The piezoelectric principle is being applied across a range of other devices, including a ‘Magic Carpet’ that produces energy when walked on, a wireless light switch, and even an entire house.
Mexico’s smog-eating hospital
As one of the world’s smoggiest cities, Mexico City is in desperate need of a health check. It is fitting therefore, that one of the city’s main public hospitals has come up with a potential solution to the problem.
The chalk white, honeycomb-like facade on a new surgery building of Hospital General in Mexico City is not simply aesthetically pleasing, this structure uses a new technology called ‘prosolve370e’ developed by Allison Dring and Daniel Schwaag of Berlin-based Elegant Embellishments, to ‘scrub’ the air clean.
Described on their website as “a decorative, three-dimensional architectural tile that can be installed quickly to reduce air pollution in urban environments,” the facade’s technology employs a nano, photocatalytic version of titanium dioxide (an ingredient in sunblock and toothpaste) that responds to UV light and triggers a chemical reaction. The tiles turn nitrogen oxide into nitric acid, which is then neutralized by calcium carbonate in the facade coating. Volatile organic compounds and fine particulate matters are also broken down by prosolve370e.
You’ve got to be Kidma!
The Renault Kidma is a ‘mobility system’ conceived by Thomas Felix for the city of Tel Aviv, Israel, that uses solar energy to charge itself up while parked, and utilizes moving walls to help create airflow and cool the car down on the inside.
Intended for public access through city terminals, phones and internet bookings, passengers will be able to customize seat positions, the sound system, the opacity of the walls, and even the colour of the vehicle.