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Monday, 26 June, 2000, 12:21 GMT 13:21 UK
Boots of the future
Boots and mobile phone that in future will work together
New electric boots promises ultimate power in mobility
A British team have invented a pair of walking boots which could be used to power mobile phones, personal stereos and other electrical equipment.

The shoes were invented by Dr Jim Gilbert, a lecturer in engineering at Hull University, who was asked to develop an idea by Trevor Baylis, the inventor of the clockwork radio.

Dr Gilbert said the technology was similar to that which allowed trainers to be lit up.

He said: "Some children's trainers generate enough power for flashing lights but that only requires microwatts.

"A mobile phone needs around three watts when on air and the power has to be generated without affecting the way you walk."

Dr Gilbert was playing with his son's toy car when he came up with the idea of using a dynamo in a shoe to generate power and then release it in a controlled way to power a phone.

Commercial and military uses

He said: "Having your mobile phone batteries run out is annoying at the best of times."

Mr Baylis, who owns the Electric Shoe Company, wants to develop the shoe for the market.

He is planning to test the new shoes in the Namibian desert next week.

It is hoped the shoes, which have been developed by the Electric Shoe Company and Texon International, could be sold commercially from about 100 a pair.

The British military is reported to have shown keen interest in the invention that could make soldiers more independent.

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