Over the course of the London Olympics, millions of feet will traverse the bridge connecting London’s West Ham tube station to the Olympic Park. Those feet will also light up Pavegen tiles with their kinetic energy in an installation that will not only keep the area lit 24/7, it will create a surplus of 30 percent to be stored in batteries as contingency.

Only 12 lights in the walkway will produce about 72 million joules of energy, enough to charge 10,000 cell phones for an hour. But because the tiles only move 5 millimeters when stepped on, daytime pedestrians may barely even notice them without looking down. The slabs also have wireless transmitters, allowing pedestrians to use their computers or smart phones to see how much energy is being generated.

Undoubtedly, people are excited about the technology and its place in the Olympic Games. David Stubbs, head of sustainability at the London Organizing Committee, put it this way: “We want people coming to the Games to be able to do their bit for the environment and this is a great example where, literally in a few steps, people can actively contribute towards making these truly sustainable Games.”

Olympic Delivery Authority transport director Hugh Sumner is also enthusiastic. “The widespread use of energy-efficient technology is one of the main features of London 2012. This foot-powered lighting system for one of the main walkways into the Olympic Park … will really get people thinking about how an individual can make a difference, while getting to and from their events.”

Main photo credit: Pavegen