After reading Joe Romm's recent blog entry, "Good for Your Buns, Good for the Environment," I started noticing other stories about human powered devices circulating the web, and thought I'd share a link round-up of a selection of new resources and products with Worldchanging readers. As Alex Steffen has previously written, human powered devices can provide us with a "sense of the kind of actual work done by the machines we use to power our civilization, [which] is itself a worldchanging realization, a sort of making visible the invisible."
Power at Home
It includes a brief history of such devices, from Archimedes’ screw to electricity-generating boots. It describes the physiology and physics behind human power and reveals how many watts one person can practically generate. It also includes plans for building your own devices, such as a pedal-powered blender and electricity generator. But most inspiring, it tells the stories of inventors from around the world and their ingenious contraptions.
Power on the Go...on Wheels
The BioLogic ReeCharge connects to all dynamo hubs on the market. Proprietary circuitry converts and regulates the intermittent power generated by the dynamo hub, for input into the ReeCharge’s high capacity lithium polymer battery. The battery then outputs a stable current to safely charge electronic devices. Devices that are not designed to output a stable current to electronic devices can damage the batteries of those devices. The BioLogic ReeCharge attaches to a bicycle by means of a wrap-around silicon case. The weatherproof silicon case even features sealed cable ports.
Power on the Go...by Foot
"After a full days festival frolics you can plug your phone into the power output at the top of the welly and use the energy that has been generated throughout the day to charge your phone. The power collected in the ‘power generating sole’ is collected via a process known as the ‘Seebeck’ effect. Inside the power generating sole there are thermoelectric modules constructed of pairs of p-type and n-type semiconductor materials forming a thermocouple. These thermocouples are connected electrically forming an array of multiple thermocouples (thermopile). They are then sandwiched between two thin ceramic wafers. When the heat from the foot is applied on the top side of the ceramic wafer and cold is applied on the opposite side, from the cold of the ground, electricity is generated."(via Tonic)
Power at Play
“sOccket may not be a solution to the energy crisis,” says Lin. “But it is a new way of thinking about problems many people face on a day to day basis…and it enables empowerment, for children to literally power their own lives.”
See the Worldchanging archives for more on human power:
Image sources from top-to-bottom:
The Human Powered Home; Biologic ReeCharge diagram; Orange Power Wellies; sOccket 2.0 (Photo: Jessica Lin); Bike 4 Tea; and photo of human anatomy model courtesy of Flickr photographer telstar under the Creative Commons License.