Harnessing kinetic energy from wearables is a relatively under-explored approach to sustainable energy. Until we have piezoelectic fabrics readily available, we will have to create clever hacks to deliver and demonstrate the potentials of using human power to generate electricity. The two projects I want to introduce, the Footprint Project and Firefly, are conceptually the same: the main difference is the context. Both use kinetic energy gained through physical activity throughout the day to generate light. The Footprint project (I believe it’s by youtube user fwelm) is a pair of clunky modified converse that accumulates energy throughout the day with each step. At the end of day, the user can connect the shoes via a magnetic connection to a lamp. The duration of the illumination is proportional to the amount of “work” (how many steps you took) throughout your day. For most of us, this may seem like an excessive approach to gaining a moment of illumination. But in the context of a remote village in India where many families can not afford electricity, human generated power is the perfect and perhaps only affordable means for generating light. Firefly (invented by youtube user fireflypower I believe) is a human generated power system mounted on a bicycle that accumulates energy from cycling throughout the day. The electricity is later used in the evening as a light source to dispel the darkness and allow individuals to study, read, work, and cook. The system contains a dynamo, a (safety) lamp for the bike, and a battery with a simple circuit. The system also contains a switch to power on and off the safety lamp. The battery can be removed at the end of the day to power a handmade LED Lamp. Take a look at the LED lamp — it is built on an old CD and housed in a plastic container. I encourage you to watch the entire video. It is truly remarkable to see how simple and cleverly hacked technologies can become an amazing and useful tool. I’m not sure if fwelm ever thought his Footprint Project (AKA Pogo Power Platforms) could ever be used in this particular context — but fireflypower saw a need and fulfilled it using a very similar concept. Sometimes the only difference between a fun and quirky art project and a life changing technology is, simply, context.