Anthony Mutua, a graduate of Mombasa Polytechnic University College, had one invention in mind that he was sure would really turn things around. With an idea and a few materials, he got to work. The result: a shoe that you could charge your phone with. Mutua had developed an ultra-thin chip of crystals that would generate electricity when put under pressure.
A shoe for joggers, herders, gym enthusiasts, and anyone who does a lot of walking really, Mutua’s shoe charger is ideal for numerous situations, especially when you don’t have access to the electricity grid. As you walk, you generate pressure that in turn generates energy in the shoe charger which you can use to charge your mobile phone.
“The electricity is generated by the act of walking and running, and can be harvested in two ways. One way is to charge the phone while still in motion through a thin extension cable that runs from the shoe to the pocket. The other alternative, is to charge the phone immediately after a walk because the crystals have the capacity to store the electric energy, through a technology that is about to go into mass production and is likely to prove quite popular with people who want to charge a mobile phone for others as a commercial activity as it can charge several phones simultaneously,” Mutua explained.
Mutua was then 24 in 2012 when he showed his innovation at the Science and Innovation Week taking place at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre in Nairobi. The shoe, whose technology was patented, was then priced at KSH 3800 and came with a two and a half year guarantee.
“In case the shoe is worn out you can always transfer it to the new one.”
Mutua’s biggest obstacle then was funding. Luckily, he was able to secure some funds by obtaining a grant from the National Council of Science and Technology and the shoes went into mass production.
Since then, Mutua has been named among Africa’s top 100 influential youths (2016) and he even went ahead to form his own company that he heads.