Thu, 06/28/2001 - 9:00am admin
Electric crisis avoided with special shoes
Before his death in 1888, limerick writer Edward Lear jested, "There was an old man of Thermopylae, Who never did anything properly; But they said, 'If you choose to boil eggs in your shoes, You shall never remain in Thermopylae.' "
It has taken some time, but boiling eggs in one's shoes has become a realistic possibility. In fact, if we walk in the right shoes, we should be able to supply enough energy to power a mobile phone, a portable CD player, or a Palm Pilot. Batteries will no longer be needed because miniature electro-mechanical devices positioned in the shoe heels will generate voltage when compressed.
According to Rural Electric Magazine, The Electric Shoe Company of Leichester, England, and Texon International, which claims to be the world's largest manufacturer of footwear materials, both have their electricity-generating feet in the door of this new development, and a prototype has worked successfully. Their sole (pun intended) remaining problem is figuring out how to store and distribute "the raw electrical output of the shoe."
We can only imagine the impact this single step in shoe electricity could possibly have on the heels of today's energy shortages.
In a world of electricity-generating shoes, Imelda Marcos, the former first lady of the Philippines and a legendary shoe collector, might have been a major energy power broker.
The glass slipper story about Cinderella would have to be rewritten and the plot would be more about energy resources and less about love.
Powerful names such as Exxon, Shell and Conoco would have to step aside for other energy-producing giants: Payless, Foot Locker and Thom McAn.
Nancy Sinatra's toe-tapping lyrics from the past, "These boots were made for walking," would have to be changed to the less catchy, "These boots are made for generating."
Anyone capable of walking and chewing gum at the same time would also be able to walk and carry around a small, working kitchen appliance, such as a blender, a portable microwave oven or a toaster.
Of course, every advance in technology has its naysayers and critics. Electricity-generating shoes will also be confronted by the pettiness of foes who are anything but shoe tongue-tied.
"Sure, it's easy for them to watch TV during this black-out - they have the right shoes!"
"Of course the neighbors have more Christmas lights on their house than we can afford to have. They also have 10 kids walking around all day!"
Last but not least, although it has always been a highlight of some women's lives, shopping for shoes will definitely become an electrifying experience.