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Directory:Human-Powered

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Technologies and concepts for generating usable energy from human activity.

For years I've been waiting for simple exercise-machine-based energy generators. With all the gyms in this country and all the fitness emphasis and machinery, why can't we marry energy production with fitness equipment? It seems a natural fit! - Kevin M. Trammel

Contents

Overview

  • Human-Powered >
    Can The Human Body Be Used As A Power Plant? - A brief review of various methods for using the human body as a power plant, or even as a battery. Methods include harnessing human heat from crowds, electricity from typing, knee dynamos, glucose-powered implants. (Energy Daily; July 20, 2010)
  • The mechanics of foot travel - Computer analysis that allows simulation of infinite two-legged locomotions has shown our favored modes of bi-pedal travel use the least amount of energy. (EurekAlert; Sept. 15, 2005)

Technologies

Child's-Play Harnessing

  • Fundraisers > Human-Powered > Child's-Play >
    SOCCKET: Soccer ball that generates electricity (Kickstarter) - Play with this soccer ball for 30 minutes and get 3 hours of electricity via LED lamp, thanks to a collaboration between groups has resulted in the creation of a soccer ball generator they call the SOCCKET. The team has been testing their ball for over a year in impoverished regions of North and South America and are ready to begin mass production. (PureEnergyBlog; March 3, 2013)
  • Human-Powered > Child's-Play >
    Top 6 Designs That Harness the Energy of Physical Play - A round up of amazing designs that do double duty as a fun toy or game and pay back to the grid. While some are humanitarian designs meant to aid areas struggling with limited resources, and others are just for good clean fun, each of these pieces turn all its human powered input into usable energy that, even in a few cases, can be applied to do a little housework! (Inhabitat; July 31, 2010)
  • Fueling it with fun - It’s time to power up your kids because now there’s a way to put all their hyperactivity to good use. Click the link to see a playground that's just waiting to turn children's energy into electricity. (Discovery.ca; March 31, 2005)

Flight

  • Flight / Human-Powered >
    First Continuous Flight of a Human-Powered Ornithopter! - A University of Toronto student has succeeded where Leonardo Da Vinci had failed, completing the first continuous flight of the human-powered aircraft known as an ornithopter. Todd Reichert , a PhD student at the U of T Institute for Aerospace Studies at the University of Toronto, succeeded in piloting the aircraft, which flies by flapping its wings like a bird. (Inhabitat; Sept. 23, 2010)
  • Humans like flying squirrels - Only at 100 MPH off mountains in Norway in windsuits, called "wingsuit basejumping". (Vimeo Video; 3.54 minutes, Sept. 2008)

General Movement

  • Human-Powered > Nanotech / Superconductors >
    Energy-Generating T-Shirts Could Someday Power Your Electronics - Scientists at the University of Texas at Dallas have discovered a way to create energy generating textiles from powder-infused carbon nanotubes. If they can weave this energy-transmitting yarn into ready-to-wear material, this energy-transmitting yarn could be fashioned into lightweight batteries you can wear. (Inhabitat; January 16, 2011)

Glucose

  • Fuel Cells > Human-Powered > Glucose >
    Electrical Power from Humans - Researchers at the Joseph Fourier University of Grenoble have designed a biofuel cell that uses glucose and oxygen at concentrations found in the body to generate electricity to power implant devices. They are the first group in the world to demonstrate their device working while implanted in a living animal. (BBC; October 16, 2011)
  • Human-Powered / Health >
    Power from Glucose for Medical Devices - Scientists in France have implanted the first functional glucose biofuel cell in a living animal. Unlike batteries that supply power to implants, a power-generating device may not have to be surgically removed and replaced, because glucose is a potentially limitless source of energy. The device uses enzymes to harvest energy from glucose and oxygen found naturally in the body. (MIT Technology Review; May 18, 2010)

Gravity

  • Human-Powered / Gravity > Conventional >
    A $5 Lamp Powered Solely by Gravity - The $5 light requires no fuel or batteries, and it takes only 3 seconds to lift the weight which powers GravityLight, creating 30 minutes of light on its descent. [Update:] They ended up raising $399,590 of their $55,000 Indiegogo fundraising goal. [I had this idea a couple of months ago. Glad to see someone has done it.] (Expundit; December 23, 2012)

Hand Power

  • Kinetic >
    In a twirl with the Chukka Kinetic Music Player - The Chukka Kinetic Music Player combines electromagnetic induction with a unique design that encourages the user to twirl it around the fingers, throw it about and otherwise toy with it. The result - an eco-friendly personal media player that also gives you the stress relieving benefits of tactile interaction and repetitive physical motion (GizMag; August 11, 2009)

Heat

  • Human-Powered > Heat >
    Self-fueled work station concept generates energy while you sit - Unplugged is an office work station of the future concept that envisions powering your electronic devices via energy collected off the human body. According to Swedish designer Eddi Törnberg, all you would have to do is move about your office as normal, sit in your chair and let the heat of your body do the rest. (GizMag; July 5, 2012)
  • Thermal Electric / Human-Powered >
    Human heat can power electronics - New energy-scavenging systems under development at MIT could generate electricity just from differences in temperature between the body (or other warm object) and the surrounding air, harnessing differences of just one or two degrees, producing tiny (~100 microwatts) but nevertheless useful amounts of electricity. (GizMag; Feb. 17, 2010)

Leverage

  • Moving Big Rocks - Wally Wallington has demonstrated that he can lift a Stonehenge-sized pillar weighing 22,000 lbs and moved a barn over 300 ft. What makes this so special is that he does it using only himself, gravity, and his incredible ingenuity. (J Walk Blog; Oct. 17, 2006)

Melanin

  • Solar / Human Powered >
    Could Human Photosynthesis power the future? - Dr. Arturo Solis Herrera has developed a technology that utilizes the properties of melanin – the animal analogue to chlorophyll. His melanin based (polihydroxyindol) photo-cell absorbs a broad spectrum of electromagnetic radiation, and converts it into electricity. He has also developed a pharmaceutical claimed to enhance human "photosynthesis" for increased health. (PESN and BeforeItsNews; May 3, 2011)

Mind Power

  • Wadsworth Brain-Computer Interface - In France, Peter Brunner and his associates demonstrated a brain computer interface (BCI) that translates thought to text on a computer screen. (How Stuff Works; June 12, 2006)

Pedal-Power

See Directory:Pedal-Power - separate index page

Image:Pedal-a-Watt_95x95.jpg Image:Goblin motors 95x95.jpg Image:PedGen.gif Image:Pedal power tv 95x95.jpg Image:Pedal-a-Watt_95x95.jpg

Push

  • Revolving Door Helps Power Train Station - Okay, the lights in the door (go round and round) of a coffee shop in a train station use the power. "A Netherlands train station is using a revolving door to produce electricity. The Natuurcafe La Port in the train station expects the coming and going of patrons to provide 4,600 kWh {guesstimate} a year." (EcoGeek; Dec. 10, 2008)

Rowing Action

  • Human-Powered >
    Human Powered Car Can Go 30 MPH While Driving Uphill - The HumanCar is powered by your very own kinetic force — just hop in, give it a few cranks, and you’re on your way. Developed decades ago, the vehicle is now getting set to hit the market as a road tested — and totally street legal — car. It was recently clocked going 30 miles per hour up a hill, and it will be selling for a mere $15,000. (Inhabitat; Aug. 9, 2010)

Shake

Sound

  • Piezoelectric / Human-Powered >
    Yell at Your Phone to Charge It: New Piezoelectric Device Could Help You - Imagine that one day you could charge your mobile phone or other low-consumption devices just by placing them in noisy areas or by yelling at them. South-Korean scientists from the Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul, are now studying a type of zinc oxide-based device that could do just that. (Green Optimistic; May 10, 2011)

Step Action

See Directory:Human-Powered by Step Action - separate page

Image:Polymer_transducer_piezoelectric_shoe_95x95.jpg Image:Motorized knee Tsukuba U 95x95.jpg Image:Powerbocking 95x95.jpg Image:UMAdiagram animation 95x95.gif Image:Back pack 100x100.jpg

Stretch/Pull

  • Textronics - Electronic textiles can collect, transmit, and receive energy. Circuitry, sensors or functional components embedded in the structure of the fiber or fabric enable a garment to become an electronic medium. These materials can warm, illuminate, conduct, and sense, using the stretch and recovery properties of elastomeric fibers to "power" this medium, creating stretchable interactive electronic systems.
  • Potenco - Has developed a portable power generator that you simply pull a cord for a minute and generate electric power for up to several hours. This portable green power can be used to power mobile phones, PDAs, lighting products, and digital cameras.
  • Yo-Yo Powered MP3 Player - The inventors estimate that between 10-12 tosses per hour are sufficient for continuous music play. A wireless headset allows the user to listen to music while yo-yoing. (TreeHugger; Aug. 26, 2006)
  • REGEN - A yo-yo/MP3 player complete with wireless headset and docking station.

Weight Reset

  • Lamp Lit by Gravity Wins Greener Gadget Award - A Virginia Tech student has created a floor LED lamp that is powered by gravity, using a weight slide similar to the concept of a grandfather clock. The lamp was originally calcualted to put out the equivalent of a 40-Watt bulb, and lasts four hours per cycle; and the mechanism was expected to last 200 years; however, these calculations were in error. (PESN; Feb. 18, 2008)

Misc.

Patents

Research & Development

  • As America Implodes, The Bike Industry Booms - The nation may be wracked by collapsing banks, foreclosed houses and a tanking economy, but there's no sign anything's amiss here at Interbike, the bike industry's annual trade show. In fact, it's party time as a perfect storm of eco-conscious consumerism, health-conscious lifestyles and wallet-sapping gas prices conspires to get people out of cars and onto bikes -- especially electric ones. ('Wired; Sept. 26, 2008)
  • Knee Brace Harnesses Human Regenerative Braking - A team of engineers has developed a modified knee brace that captures energy that would otherwise have been lost while the wearer walks. The generator produces about five watts--enough to power 10 cell phones simultaneously. (MIT Technology Review; Feb. 8, 2008)
  • Swedes to use body heat to warm offices - A Swedish company plans to harness the body heat generated by thousands of commuters scrambling to catch their trains at Stockholm's main railway station and use it for heating a nearby office building. (Reuters; Jan. 10, 2008)
  • Harnessing Human Kinetic Energy - The battery-size product, the M2E, harnesses kinetic energy, or normal physical movement, to generate power. Clipped onto a belt or carried in a knapsack, the entire generator is contained within a regular battery casing. (MIT Technology Review; Nov. 29, 2007)
  • Design for the other 90% - Designers, engineers, students and professors, architects, and social entrepreneurs from all over the globe are devising cost-effective ways to increase access to food and water, energy, education, healthcare, revenue-generating activities, and affordable transportation for those who most need them.
  • "Crowd Farm" to Collect Energy? - A couple of MIT students would like to harness the mechanical power of large groups of people. A responsive sub-flooring system made up of blocks that depress slightly under the force of human steps would be installed beneath a thoroughfare. The slippage of the blocks against one another as people walked would generate power. (MIT News; July 25, 2007) (See Slashdot discussion)
  • Fuel cell that runs on blood - A Japanese research team at Tohoku University has developed a fuel cell that runs on blood without using toxic substances, opening the way for use in artificial hearts and other organs. (Gulf Times; May 14, 2005)

Down-Sides

  • Conventional Renewable Energy >
    11 green inventions that go too far - Some have been quick to capitalize on the green trend, losing practicality in the frenzy to attain another kind of green — the kind that shows up on a balance sheet. Others create extreme concepts that will never become everyday realities, in order to raise awareness. Either way, the results can be just plain nuts. (MSNBC; Aug. 20, 2010)

Humor

  • Humor > Human-Powered >
    SpeedFit treadmill vehicle - You can now purchase a treadmill-powered walking/jogging machine. Instead of just walking or jogging, you could also get some metrics input and get some middle men involved to help the economy by spreading around your excess money that really should go to the buffoons who brought this to market. Great gift for politicians. (Huffington Post; July 27, 2010)
  • Featured: Humor >
    Motor-less Motorcycle and More - Here's a collection of images I've compiled and prepared especially for our April 1, 2011 coverage, including Solar Powered Tai Chi; Zero Point Energy Defined; Run-of-the-Stairs Hydro; GEET Grocery Cart; Human-Powered School Bus; Hydroelectric Dam Springs a Goat Leak; Self-Looped Power Outlet; Political Promises Could Provide Power Source; Biomass-Powered Bird; Plastic-Bottle-Powered Car. (Free Energy News and BeforeItsNews; April 1, 2011)
  • Featured: Biofuels >
    NatGeo Bus Powered by Passengers - The bussing authority in Atlanta in conjunction with NatGeo, a global biofuel research group, has been experimenting with a new approach to powering their bus fleet with the passengers that board the bus. Passengers enter through the jaws and exit through the tail pipe. (Free Energy News; April 1, 2009)
  • Fuel Efficiency
    Extraordinary Loads on Ordinary Bikes - A collection of 20 images from around the planet, primarily in the developing world, where amazing feats of stacking and balance are achieved, and powered by human locomotion and ingenuity. (TreeHugger; March 30, 2009)

grocery_bike_jp70.jpg

Riding_Lawn_Mower.jpg

  • Asian Child Mimics Hydro Plant - Energy savant child, Kazuo Hydrohuko, has discovered how to harness the power of municipal water fountains. The method doubles as an effective enema. (Josu Kideng; April 1, 2008)
  • The Patented Boonsburg Egg - Simple double disk design used to manipulate and move very heavy objects. Simple design humorously claimed to be identical to Ancient Egyptian "Sun Disk" and similar circles seen at Stonehenge and Coral Castle.

In the News

Listing commenced Sept. 29, 2010

  • Nanotech / Solar / Piezoelectric >
    Using Nanotechnology to Capture the Energy Around Us - Dr. Zhong Lin Wang, Professor from the Georgia Institute of Technology, has developed a way to harness both sunlight and small movements in the same hybrid cell. To construct a nanogenerator, Wang grew a vertical array of microscopic zinc oxide (ZnO) wires on a flat base. On top of this, he placed an electrode with multiple pointed peaks that give it a “zig-zag” appearance. (PureEnergyBlog; May 19, 2013)
  • DIY / Human-Powered > Pedal Power >
    How to Build a Bicycle Generator (PDF) - Building your own generator requires a number of items. A person, a bike, a way of supporting your bike off the ground, a motor, an energy smoothing system and an inverter if you want to use your bike generator to power mains equipment...to generate between 50 and 100 watts of usable energy for your generator. (WakingTimes; November 9, 2012)
  • Human Powered > Kinetic > Step Action >
    nPower PEG Charges Your Gadgets as You Walk - The nPower® PEG is the world’s 1st charger for hand-held electronics that captures and stores the kinetic energy you generate while walking, running, or biking. The science behind the technology is based on the Faraday Principle and Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity, receving multiple patents, yet is simple to use. (Inhabitat; January 5, 2011)
  • Prizes > Google's 10^100 / Human-Powered > Pedal Power >
    Google Announces Project 10^100 Winners - Two years ago, Google asked for ideas for helping as many people as possible, receiving 150,000 ideas from 170 countries. $10 million will be split among five winners, including one energy project, Shweeb, a concept for short to medium distance, urban personal transport, using human-powered vehicles on a monorail. (Google Blog; Sept. 24, 2010)

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