Electricity-Generating Flooring Gets Tokyo Test

A new way to create power, by harnessing human power in everyday movement, may be a new solution to energy problems

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Placed outside of Shibuya station, the tiles invite passers-by to step, jump, and walk across them. The result is a transference of power from the user to the tiles, which in-turn creates power for some nearby Christmas lights.

The experiment, while small in scale, is serving as both a test for its creators as well as a learning experience for the young Japanese that congregate at the station. Called hatsudenyuka (electricity-generating floors), the technology may at some day become part of all public surfaces.

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Tokyo Station (pic below) the experiment is on a larger scale, taking place in several spots from station gates to hallways and even staircases. Under the mats in front of the station gates a 0.4 millimeter layer converts the steps of hundreds of thousands of commuters into small amounts of electricity which is then stored to power local lighting.

The experiments are being run by NEDO, the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, and have recently stopped (after March 2009) to analyze data.

The concept of course, is to harness the energy humans expand on a daily basis and turn it into useful energy to power our lives. Tokyo, with such a high volume of commuters, is particularly equipped to experiment in this way.

Trend Impact: Harnessing the power of humanity, the electricity generating floors are a next step in making our environments both practical and functional with multiple purposes.

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