A University of Virginia freshman is $10,000 richer, after taking second place in a campus contest that promotes innovation.
As a volunteer in rural Peru, Joseph Linzon saw a problem. Residents needed electricity for cell phones, laptops and iPods, but they didn’t have a ready source of power. As he traveled through remote villages on foot, the idea came to him.
“As you walk you produce energy – kinetic energy, and I was thinking, “How can I convert this kinetic energy, that’s created with the swinging of a foot and charge a battery?” And that’s what an inductive coil mechanism does. It’s similar to a shake to charge flashlight.”
Back in Virginia, Linzon put a small battery and inductive coil into the sole of a gym shoe and showed it to a panel of judges at the university’s annual Entrepreneurship Cup.
“It’s completely embedded within the shoe. The user wouldn’t have access to this battery. The only way they would have access to it is through a USB port. I took a shoe, I shook it, and I charged my iPhone,” explains Linzon.
He’s now awaiting a patent and plans to use his prize to develop a prototype and pay legal fees. He calls his invention the Power Sole – with the slogan, “empowering the powerless, one step at a time.”
– Sandy Hausman