Electric Avenue: Energy-Harvesting Tiles Line London ‘Smart Streets’

A global first for London, the world’s first ‘Smart Street’ opens on Bird Street.

Electric Avenue: Energy-Harvesting Tiles Line London ‘Smart Streets’
This'll put a spring in your step — interactive tiles in London convert a sidewalk stroll into energy. Credit: Courtesy of Pavegen

The government of London introduces a new idea of energy harvesting road with an interactive installation called ‘Smart Streets’. This futuristic idea involves applying a layer of interactive tiles on little-used a narrow road, that transforms it into an energy-harvesting ‘Smart Streets’.

Before this technique, we never thought that city sidewalks could one day generate the energy and powers streetlights.

The Government of London launched the project on June 29 in Bird Street. Bird street is a quiet and relatively traffic-free road adjacent to Oxford Street in London’s West End quarter. A company called Pavegen produced the interactive street tiles.

When Visitors will walk on the street, the street captures energy from their steps. It then generates powers to trigger soundspaces of chirping birds and night times light along the avenue. For the complete installation, other technological innovations are also done. For example, a seating area that doubles as an air purifier and surfaces covered in paint that absorbs nitrogen oxide gas present in fossil fuel emissions.

Electric Avenue: Energy-Harvesting Tiles Line London ‘Smart Streets’
Pavegen powering lighting, birds and data – and connected to smart phones

The energy harvesting walkway also incorporates Bluetooth Low-Energy transmitters which will enable it to interact with branded apps.

The tiles which measure about 108 square feet, also power low-energy Bluetooth transmitters implant in the pathway. The transmitter communicates with an app that provides information about walkers with data about steps taken and how much energy those steps fabricate. In addition, their steps also deliver vouchers and discounts for pop-up shops along the street.

In collaboration with ‘Smart Street’, Airlabs company design ‘CleanAir Bench’. The bench allows a visitor to take a breath of fresh air when they take a seat on it. Which Scrubs pollutants from the air.

Electric Avenue: Energy-Harvesting Tiles Line London ‘Smart Streets’
Breathe deep when you take a seat on the CleanAir Bench, which scrubs pollutants from the air.
Credit: Courtesy of AirLabs

The CleanAir Bench have eight fans inside it that draw in polluted air and processes internally to remove up to 95% of nitrogen dioxide. Once it scrubs pollutants from the air, it thus exhales clean air.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said, “From air pollution and climate change to housing and transport, new technologies and data science will be at the heart of the long-term solutions to urban challenges.”