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Power floor harnessing even more footsteps

Ticket gate
The high-tech ticket gates are powered by the movement of commuters' feet

Almost a year ago, we brought you news of a seemingly crazy scheme to generate electricity from the footfalls of pedestrians and we're happy to update that with word that the scheme was such a success it's being expanded.

The experiment is being run by JR East, one of Japan's national rail operators, in Tokyo station and now features much-improved technology that increases the previous power-generating capacity.

Power up

Piezoelectric elements in the floor around ticket gates convert the kinetic energy of footsteps to electricity, with improvements boosting the capacity by a factor of ten from the earlier trial.

JR East says it expects the power floor to generate 1,400kW per day, which will be more than enough to power the RFID-reading ticket gates as well as electronic billboards in the station.

Numbers game

Of course, Tokyo being home to almost 13 million people greatly helps JR East in its drive to harness the energy they expend on the daily commute, so we don't expect to see this technology in Accrington station, for example, anytime soon.