Ticket Machines Powered By Stomping Commuters Feet

Thousands of stamping feet will be doing the environment a little good from today, as a Japanese experiment that harnesses footfalls for generating power gets underway.

The system consists of rubber mats and (presumably) piezo-electric materials, and can technically generate enough power to run the ticket machines, gates and electronic signage of the Tokyo railway station it’s being tested in. Up to 80,000 passengers go through the station every day, and the system borrows a little of the kinetic energy each passenger imparts as they walk. Each passenger will technically have a little of their food-supplied energy reserves sapped, but it’ll be microscopic.

It’s an experiment by a joint venture formed by a goverment-supported body and Japan East Railways, and it’s exactly the kind of innovative green-thinking system Japan needs if it’s to come closer to meeting its Kyoto protocol pollution cuts.