Power from the People

fm-420human20car1In this great article from Popular Science, “Power from the People” delves into the world of inventors doing their part for the environment all the while coming up with some pretty interesting concepts. The basis of the article is to use human energy and convert it into useable power. Very interesting stuff.

Take the FM-4 for example. This “car” looks like a cross between a street luge and an old push rail car. Powered by its passengers, (including the “power-monkey” in the back) this car can reach speeds of 30 mph all by human power. It has even been clocked pushing 60 mph downhill.

That’s it – sign me up! I’ll never have to go to the gym again!

There are many human powered hybrids being invented every day. Scientists are even working to collect the power that a person exhumes every day and figure out how to harness the energy towards something useful. The Green Microgym in Portland, Oregon uses its stationary bikes to supply electricity to help run the place.

A Gethehumangeneratorsmall1orgia Tech computer scientist discovered that there are 390 megajoules of energy stored in the body of fat of the average person (the equivilant of 93,150 calories – about the amount in 283 jelly donuts). If a portion of that power could be harnessed and store it, the sky would be the limit.

The article has a great diagram (pictured here) that shows what we could power if people were to capture the energy put off from their everyday movements. The methods, albeit it incredibly absurd, offer some great statistics on the levels of power our bodies could produce. They figured out that one person could ultimately tap 151 watts of energy from their body, enough to power 75 BlackBerry phones, or 7 Nintendo Wiis, or 1 desktop computer, or 1 32-inch HD TV!


Posted by: Lauren


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