Hacked Heelys Generate Their Own Electricity

You know those annoying Heely shoes, the ones that kids zoom around on in the mall, leading to chipped teeth and broken wrists? Well, someone actually did something somewhat useful with them. Sort of. Artists Christian Croft and Kate Hartman hacked a pair of Heelys, using the wheels to generate electricity. The electricity generated is then used to power a LED panel on the front of the shoe that gives the wearer directions… to nowhere.

Confused? Yeah, I know. We'll let them explain.

This work applies its energy toward a more playful application in hopes to promote discussion in the realm of sustainable energy development and alternative transportation design. Electricity harvested from rolling powers a microcomputer and lcd display embedded on the shoe to deliver random directions for a pedestrian to follow. Arrows and text show up on the screen display telling the wearer which direction she should travel next—north, northeast, southwest, etc. Depending on the speed of rolling, a directive appears on the screen every 15 to 20 feet. These directions drive the wearer to follow a random zig-zaggy path that mimics in physical space the mathematical simulation of the random or drunkard's walk.
Oh, art! Why make something useful when you can justify something useless and feel like an artist? But hey, kudos for making a pair of shoes that can generate electricity, even if it doesn't go to powering anything worthwhile. [Product Page via Treehugger]