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.
A Japanese rail line is testing out a new system to generate power from the footsteps
of hundreds of thousands of commuters
passing through the gates on a daily basis.The company is hoping to be able to set up a system to capture this power anduse it to operate the turnstiles (wickets) and the displays.
The system is reportedly able to generate up to 100 milliwatts per second per person. Not that much, until you multiply that by 700,000 people going throughthe station every day.
Oh Instructables, how you please me! Someone has put together an amazing tutorial on how to
make your own shake light
out of a ball point pen, a tic tac container, a refrigerator magnet,
some wire, some cheap electronics, a switch and (if you want it to stay
on while you're not shaking it) a rechargeable battery.
Not only is this made mostly out of trash, it's totally an
self-sufficient and long-lasting flashlight. Hats off the all the
MacGyvers of the world, this is an awesome project for any DIY minded
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