You might think that tasking a stretch of sidewalk with generating electricity would be enough of a feat, but this kinetic pavement on London’s Bird Street is apparently supposed to save retail, too. The 107-square-foot section of Pavegen pavers harvests energy from the steps of passersby—using essentially the same technique as those experimental vibration-harvesting roads. But with Pavegen installations already deployed in a handful of spots like Washington D.C. and Rio de Janeiro, the company decided that this Bird Street sidewalk has to do more than just power the street lamps.
So they’ve added an app that not only lets you see how much power your brief stroll has generated, it also gives you discounts at the stores you’ve just walked past. And they’ve deemed it “the world’s first ‘Smart Street’”—because what could be smarter than the idea that someone will take the time to find out what the funny-looking sidewalk is all about, then download an app to see how much power they’ve made, and then be so won over by a store voucher that they’ll detour into a retail space?
As Pavegen CEO Laurence Kemball-Cook puts it in a statement, “...being able to demonstrate how our technology can bring to life the retail shopping experience is a vital step for us. As retailers compete with online, technologies like ours make being in the busy high street more exciting and rewarding for people and brands alike.”