Many kinetic tiles work because of the scientific principle of piezoelectricity. When an object is subjected to mechanical pressure (i.e: something steps on it) it creates an electrical current. We have known about this since the Victorian era discovery by Jacques and Pierre Curie, but it is only now that we are applying the concept to flooring.
Piezoelectricity explanation
Turning a subtle scientific principle into an actual product was quite the challenge because the crux of the technology lies in being able to absorb the energy of a single human step efficiently. With each step lasting just half a second, that is no mean feat.
Pavegen has found a way to turn successive steps into a steady electrical current thanks to a design that combines piezoelectricity with a flywheel that uses electromagnetic induction and inertia to maximise electricity generation. Finally, the triangular shape allows the same amount of potential energy to be transferred no matter where you step on the tile.

Electricity-generating flooring is a key component of smart city concepts. According to EDF, a dozen tiles could power a street lamp for a whole night. By strategically placing kinetic tiles in key areas of a city, you could have on-demand lighting, mobile phone charging stations at bus stops and interactive displays powered by foot traffic alone which would also make them energy efficient.

When it comes to the 6 million street lamps dotted across the UK, kinetic tiles have the potential to make much of their 5.5TWh yearly electricity consumption, which ties up about 1% of the national grid, a thing of the past. Adopting this technology would also prevent about 50,000 tons of CO2 entering the atmosphere and make street lighting impervious to power cuts because it would be self-sufficient

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