UK mobile operator Orange teamed with renewable-energy company GotWind to create Orange Power Wellies: thermoelectric gumboots that charge your mobile phone using heat from your feet.
The boots feature a power-generating sole that converts feet heat into an electrical current. This "welectricity", as they're calling it, can then be used to recharge a phone, which you plug in to the top of the gumboot for a recharge.
The prototype gumboots will make their debut at the UK's Glastonbury performing arts festival, a huge open-air entertainment blow-out that this year runs from 23 June through 27 June. Many festival goers camp out, making it a smart spot to show off a prototype eco-friendly kinetic charger. We wish we knew how much the Orange Power Wellies will cost if they hit the broader market.
We do know that 12 hours of stomping through the fest's muddy grass in the boots will keep your feet dry and supposedly give you enough power to charge a mobile phone for one hour. In other words, these wellies were made for walking — and you're gonna have to walk plenty if you want to talk and text.
There are other kinetic methods of charging gadgets, of course, including a "piezoelectric" rubber material out of Princeton and Caltech that produces electricity when flexed and could one day find its way into shoes that power mobile phones and other mobile electronic devices as the user walks or runs.
In the case of the Orange Power Wellies, power is collected via the so-called Seebeck effect, in which a thermoelectric device creates a voltage when there's a different temperature on each side. The soles of the gumboots house an array of semiconductor materials sandwiched between two thin ceramic wafers; when heat from the foot is applied on the top side of the ceramic wafer and cold is applied on the opposite side (from the cold of the ground), electricity is said to be generated.