A nonlinear interface integrated lever mechanism for piezoelectric footstep energy harvesting Academic Article uri icon


  • 2018 Author(s). Harnessing footstep energy allows for a unique method of power generation from a largely untapped resource, with applications such as instantly charging mobile and wearable electronic devices. This letter presents an easily integrated heel charger to efficiently convert kinematic walking energy into electricity. The heel charger uses a multilayered levered piezoelectric (L-Pie) mechanism associated with a nonlinear mechanical-synchronized switching on inductor circuit (M-SSHI) interface. It tactfully switches on when the foot contacts the ground, and switches off when the foot is lifted. This design takes full advantage of the user's weight, and amplifies footstep displacement by utilizing the lever mechanism to gain maximum deformation of multilayer piezoelectric patches. The experimental results show that the fabricated two-level multilayer L-pie has a top performance of 13.60 mW of AC RMS, a mechanical to AC power conversion efficiency of 7.87%, and a DC RMS power of 6.13 mW, an AC to DC power conversion efficiency of 45.07%, under a harmonic excitation of 2.3 Hz (mimicking fast walking speed: 6.2 km/h for men, 5.55 km/h for women). With an optimal load of 210 k, the two-level L-pie using the M-SSHI has an improvement of 206.45% in DC RMS power compared to a standard 4-diode bridge energy harvesting circuit. The L-pie design works more efficiently under large force excitation, even with small displacement, which makes this technology optimal for footstep energy harvesting.

published proceedings

  • Applied Physics Letters

author list (cited authors)

  • Hua, R., Liu, H., Yang, H., Wang, Y. a., & Ferrante, J.

publication date

  • January 1, 2018 11:11 AM