Soccer Field Lights Powered by Kids' Pounding Feet

©. Pavegen

A new project helps give kids a safe place to play soccer in a Rio de Janeiro favela by using kinetic-energy harvesting tiles to produce electricity for keeping the lights on.

Pavegen, a company who has experience capturing the power of human feet from installing tiles to be run over during the Paris Marathon to creating a kinetic-energy powered sidewalk at the London Olympics, built the project through a partnership with Shell.

The field features the tiles underneath a layer of astroturf as well as a few solar PV panels around the perimeter of the field. The two technologies together generate electricity which is stored on site and then used to power the field's floodlights.

tiles under soccer field

© Pavegen

"We have taken this idea from a bedroom in London to a football pitch in Brazil through our partnership with Shell, encouraging young innovators of the future to make a real difference in their community," said Pavegen's 28 year-old founder and CEO Laurence Kemball-Cook. "In the two weeks on site in the community, children helped complete the installation. It was a real life science experiment that didn’t stop when school ended for the day."

The company estimates that the tiles should provide up to 10 hours of illumination from a full battery, meaning neighborhood kids will always have a safe, well-lit place to kick the ball around. The tile system includes a wireless Application Programming Interface (API) that collects real-time data, which can be transmitted to predetermined web addresses for analysis.

Now throw the kids a Soccket ball -- a soccer ball outfitted with an energy harvester that can be used for powering LED lanterns or charging cell phones -- and then you're really talking about the power of play.

See a video about the project featuring soccer legend Pelé below.