Finally, a pre-built human power generator. Turn
those pounds into watts with this exercise bike that can easily put out
enough juice to power a full desktop computer system (as long as you
don't use a hardcore gaming rig.)
Of course, it's hard to type while pedaling, but if you're
going to exercise, you really ought to pump some of that energy into
your house. The maxium output for a typical biker is about 500 watts,
but keeping up 300 is no problem. It can be used as a backup power
source, or you can simply incorporate it into your house's gird, just
like a solar panel. A final option is to charge the onboard battery for
Now, when I said "Finally," I meant that it finally exists.
Unfortunately, the only place I've seen it is at an online import
outlet. So if you want to import one from India, it will be $250.
BTW, that's not the bike up there, but I couldn't find a good picture.
Well, since we've been talking about odd bikes
lately, and I mentioned that the weather was discouraging my
bike-riding habits this winter, I figured I should bring you all an
innovation in snow-biking, the Ktrak.
Very simply, the Ktrak
has regular wheels for summer days, but
if every you want to take the bike out in some packed snow, just pop on
the included front-ski and rear snow-tread. The resulting vehicle looks
a heck of a lot like a bare-bones, human powered snowmobile. Frankly,
the world could use a couple fewer snowmobiles, and I hope the Ktrak
has that affect.
Bicycle commuting rocks. It's healthy, safe, fast, cheap and the only emission is what the biker breathes out. But it does have it's problems. One is that bikes generally have a very awkward shape. If there is no bike rack, or if you want to go somewhere with your bike, you're reduced to lugging a very cumbersome package around with you.
Well what if there was a bike you could fit in your trunk, that was the size of a briefcase, or that you could take on the subway. That sure would be nice.
Thus, the concept of the folding bike. You might be surprised to learn that there are actually quite a lot of these guys out there. They range from the practical to the nonsensical and from frugal to near-car prices. And today, at EcoGeek, we're going to show you the best of the folding bikes.
Remember back when cars needed cranks. Yeah, that was a bad idea. But even today, lawn mowers need a jump start. But do they use a crank? Heck no they don't. Pull strings are a much more efficient way of generating power.
So why do we keep seeing crank radios and crank laptops and crank flashlights. Why aren't there any pull string appliances out there. Well, there was, for a while, a pull-string power source that was going to be part of the One Laptop Per Child project. We're not sure if the pull-string technology is still part of OPLC, but SquidLabs, who produced the original idea for the pull-string generator, has realized the potential and is going to be marketing it to, well, probably everyone.
One minute of pulling will give you 230 minutes of iPod shuffle time, one hour of lighting, 25 minutes of cell phone talking or 45 minutes of Nintendo DS. Now that's what I'm talkin' about! It may be a long time before we have solar panels packed onto phones, but a pocket sized pull-string generator that will save you from being stuck in the airport without your DS could only be a year away. Plus, you get a workout while you're doing it.
Having a somewhat disturbing connection
with my PC, I have often thought, "Wouldn't it be nice if I had to work
out to work." For example, if my mouse weighed 50 lbs, I could probably
be a champion arm wrestler in a month's time.
But, instead, I become softer for every minute I spend at
this computer, and I spend a lot of minutes here. This YouTube video
that I spotted at ecoIron
shows a pretty impressive pedal power
generating system. The beefy guy on the left does all the work, while
the guy behind the camera, one can assume, put together the electronics
for the system. They're using an ultracapacitor, it seems, to store and
regulate the charge, and have a "watts up" power meter measuring the
draw from the device. Zack, the pedaler, seems to have no problem
keeping up the 20-30 watts it takes to power the IBM Thinkpad.
I would pay a lot of money for a desk chair that had a
keyboard and mouse pad and pedals. The Pedal Chair: Stay fit, use
renewable power, and strengthen the man-machine interface. No one was
ever this ready for the apocalypse.
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