UK-based technology company Pavegen built a sidewalk in London made up of kinetic pavement that turns pedestrians’ footsteps into energy. The 107-square-foot display on “Bird Street” harnesses and converts the power of footsteps into electricity that supplies energy for lights and bird sounds (h/t inhabitat). Walkers can connect via Bluetooth to an app on their phones to see how many joules of energy they’ve generated. Plus, the company partnered with local businesses that then will reward users with discounts and vouchers for their footsteps.
Previously underutilized, the outdoor space located off Oxford Street lets visitors shop without any traffic from cars. The footstep-generated electricity powers the street’s lights and its ambient bird sounds and provides a data feed. Pavegen has set up installations in Washington, D.C. and Heathrow Airport, but opened the “smart street” on Bird Street to “demonstrate how our technology can bring to life retail shopping experience.” The CEO of the company, Laurence Kemball-Cook, added, “As retailers compete with online technologies like ours make being in the busy high street more exciting and rewarding for people and brands alike.”
Pavegen’s installation is a multifunctional, custom flooring system that has a wireless transmitter embedded. The transmitter captures the data from the tiles as well as the generators that generate kinetic energy when people walk on them. In addition to the smart street, other sustainable technologies include Airlabs’ CleanAir bench, which removes nitrogen dioxide to create an area of clean air. Also, an air-purifying paint was used on the street.
At London’s Heathrow Airport, there are energy-generating tiles and the world’s first airport interactive light exhibit called “Flow.” In D.C., Pavegen designed a 240-square-foot installation near the White House on Connecticut Avenue. The tech company also installed an array in Rio de Janeiro that uses the weight of children’s footsteps as they run, jump and play to light up the field.
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Images courtesy of Pavegen