Alternative energy generated from people’s footsteps in a crowded area is sufficient to power smart electronic devices with low consumption. This paper aims to present the development of an energy harvesting floor—called Genpath—using a rotational electromagnetic (EM) technique to generate electricity from human footsteps. The dynamic models of the electro-mechanical systems were developed using MATLAB®
/Simulink to predict the energy performances of Genpath and help fine-tune the design parameters. The system in Genpath comprises two main parts: the EM generator and the Power Management and Storage (PMS) circuit. For the EM generator, the conversion mechanism for linear translation to rotation was designed by using the rack-pinion and lead-screw mechanism. Based on the simulation analysis, the averaged energy of the lead-screw model is greater than that of the rack-pinion model. Thus, prototype-II of Genpath with 12-V-DC generator, lead-screw mechanism was recently built. It shows better performance when compared to the previous prototype-I of Genpath with 24-V-DC-generator, rack-pinion mechanism. Both prototypes have an allowable displacement of 15 mm. The Genpath prototype-II produces an average energy of up to 702 mJ (or average power of 520 mW) per footstep. The energy provided by Genpath prototype-II is increased by approximately 184% when compared to that of the prototype-I. The efficiency of the EM-generator system is ~26% based on the 2-W power generation from the heel strike of a human’s walk in one step. Then, the PMS circuit was developed to harvest energy into the batteries and to supply the other part to specific loads. The experiment showed that the designed PMS circuit has the overall efficiency of 74.72%. The benefit of the design system is for a lot of applications, such as a wireless sensor and Internet of Thing applications.
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