This post has also been inspired by a TED blog post, but rather than to reblog their post, I wanted to shorten it a bit and tweak it in my own way. (Although I will give you the link to their blog below, so you can read it all if you want to).
The TED blog post mentions two companies which have the idea to harvest energy created by persons walking. They both have a special tile that is pressed down when a person steps on it and the kinetic energy is then transformed into electricity by whatever technology they use. One company is based in Netherlands and is called Energy Floors. The other, called Pavegen Systems, is based in the United Kingdom. I googled a bit and found information about a Japanese company called Soundpower corporation, which also have been working on similar ideas for some years.
This sounds like a completely brilliant idea, but all companies seem to operate on a rather small scale so far. I don’t know why, but I can guess that it’s too hard to get a good pay-off (at least yet). The amount of energy harvested from every person is very small, but without actually knowing, I still think that this technology ought to be perfect in some environments, such as malls, train stations and other areas with a lot of pedestrians.
Below you can see a six-minute TED Talks lecture from Laurence Kemball-Cook, founder and CEO of Pavegen Systems, talking about the idea.