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Powerland Tokyo: Power from the people — literally


Think footsteps that light the hallway and phones that recharge from the talking itself.

Powerland Tokyo: Power from the people — literally
September 11, 2011 - 7:11am

TOKYO – Japan’s central government isn’t the only one re-examining its entire energy strategies after the Fukushima nuclear meltdown. Japanese companies and municipalities are as well.

And Kohei Hayamizu, the CEO of Tokyo-based Soundpower Corporation, says he may have part of the solution for an alternative to centralized energy production, a signature of Japan’s manufacturing might.

Soundpower Corp. has designed technology that harnesses energy created by everyday actions including walking, talking and sitting. These innovations tap the vibrations that result from these activities and transform them into energy.

Hayamizu, a graduate of one of Japan’s most prestigious universities, says his inventions take energy naturally created by humans in their ordinary lives and use it rather than see it go to waste.

Trials have been implemented at locations like Shibuya Station, one of Tokyo’s main transit hubs, where each day hundreds of thousands of commuters pass through on their way to work.

Hayamizu says he believes that in the future mobile phones will be able to be charged by people talking and that batteries of electric cars could be charged using electricity created through the vibrations created by the cars themselves.

The technology is not designed to replace large-scale power generation, but it can supplement it and be part of a grid where power can be generated at the point of use if necessary.

Soundpower has had interest from several city governments and the technology could be seen in public use in the near future.

If Hayamizu gets his way, everything we do in our day-to-day lives will be generating energy. That’s good for citizens, but also for Japan as whole, as the country looks to reinvent itself from the ashes of a catastrophe.

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