Tuesday, 24 March 2009


The human body is a store house of energy and contains as much energy as a one ton battery which fuels our day to day activities. Now innovators around the world are conducting research to harness this energy to power the hi tech gadgets we heavily rely on.Movement produces kinetic energy, which can be converted into power. In the past, devices that turned human kinetic energy into electricity, such as hand-cranked radios, computers and flashlights, involved a person’s full attention but what if we could the same without giving as much notice as it requires.The countless hours that are spent at the gym or the jogging park could be utilised to drive a generator and produce electricity. This is the idea behind the Green Microgym in Portland, Oregon, where machines like stationary bikes harvest energy during workouts. Pedaling rotates a generator, producing electricity that helps to power the building. For now, body energy supplies only a small fraction of the gym’s needs, but the amount should increase as more machines are adapted. “By being extremely energy-efficient and combining human power, solar and someday wind, I believe we’ll be able to be net-zero for electricity sometime this year,” says the gym’s owner, Adam Boesel. His bikes, by the way, aren’t the first to put pedal power to work. In some parts of the world, cyclists have been powering safety lights for years with devices called bicycle dynamos, which use a generator to create alternating current with every turn of the wheels. Dance clubs are also getting in on the action. In the Netherlands, Rotterdam’s new Club WATT has a floor that harnesses the energy created by the dancers’ steps. Designed by a Dutch company called the Sustainable Dance Club, the floor is based on the piezoelectric effect, in which certain materials produce an electric current when compressed or bent. (The most common example is a cigarette lighter, in which a hammer causes a spark to be emitted when it strikes a piezoelectric crystal.) As clubgoers dance, the floor is compressed by less than half an inch. It makes contact with the piezoelectric material under it and generates anywhere from two to 20 watts of electricity, depending on the impact of the patrons’ feet. For now, it’s just enough to power LED lights in the floor, but in the future, more output is expected from newer technology. In London, Surya, another new eco-nightclub, uses the same principle for its dance floor, which the owners hope will one day generate 60 percent of the club’s electricity.

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