How to Harvest the Energy of Your Children

So anybody who knows me in person (which should be almost nobody reading this) knows that I’m super into kinetic energy harvesting.  And now anybody who doesn’t know me in person who is reading this knows that too! I really like unique concepts for harvesting energy from everyday movement.

 

http://www.energyharvestingjournal.com/articles/harvesting-power-from-breathing-00004091.asp?sessionid=1

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I thought this was pretty cool; it’s a device designed to harvest energy from the inhalation and exhalation of air when you breathe.  I imagine a great amount of power isn’t produced this way, but that’s how most kinetic energy harvesting devices tend to work.  Alone they don’t help monumentally but combined they actually cut down on a lot of energy usage.  For instance, if you used AIRE (the device in the link ^^) to help charge your ipod or phone it would cut back on the time it took for your battery to die. I don’t know about everyone else but I know if I’m at home alone and use my phone for Facebook it kills the battery super fast and then I have to haul my charger downstairs at some point rather than wait until I go to bed to charge my phone like I normally do.  AIRE  would hopefully provide enough charge that I wouldn’t have to incorporate this extra charging ritual into my day.  And also like many other energy harvesting devices AIRE encourages exercise since when you exercise you tend to breathe harder.

Added plus: we all start wearing masks and start looking steampunk! (no I’m not saying I would wear this all day long but maybe while I slept and ran my dog in the morning?)  another added plus: could probably be retrofitted to keep your face warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer while running outside. After how cold it is today I would throw money at almost anything that would help with that! (or I could just wear one of my nine million scarves I suppose) 

 

http://www.instructables.com/id/Breath-powered-USB-charger/

This is actually the breath-harvester I was looking for when I found the AIRE.  I ran into this one during my downtime the summer I worked in one of my professor’s labs (by downtime I mean I spent most of the day online killing time whilst chemical reactions were happening).  It comes with instructions on how to build your own kinetic energy harvesting device from recycled things and my one new year resolution is I AM GOING TO MAKE THIS THIS YEAR! preferably this semester.  Basically it uses gearing from old CD-rom drives to power a generator which will charge something via usb (or maybe charge a battery).  

http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/gadgets/other-gadgets/power-felt.htm

Power Felt! The name just sounds like something I want… sadly it’s not as artsy as it sounds since it’s not actually felt but it is  plastic and nanotubes and such things and the idea is the harvest energy from heat differences (i.e. between two people, or a person and a stove, or a person and anything else, or anything else and anything else that are different temperatures).  It’s not actually kinetic energy harvesting but I thought it was super cool!

 

And let’s not forget energy harvesting playgrounds (which is what I want to make for a living).  There are so many different ways playgrounds could be used to generate energy: from retrofitting already made playground equipment to building new playground equipment with generators attached.  And also there is so much potential for recycling other materials when making the playgrounds.  Playground equipment which harvests kinetic movement is already being implemented in third world countries and such by companies such as Empower Playgrounds but they could be used in the United States and other big first world countries too.  Every time I go on a rant about energy harvesting playgrounds people jokingly mention using children like hamsters and the thing is that yes this is similar to that but I’m not FORCING the children to play on the playgrounds.  Heck, I’m willing to play on the playgrounds to generate the energy.  Yes there’s potential for parents to try to turn energy harvesting playgrounds into sweatshops for children to produce the energy for parents to charge their ipods but there’s potential for abuse in almost every good idea.  There are many conceptual designs floating around for energy harvesting playgrounds and there are devices being implemented with the same technology and ideas in gyms such as on ellipticals with ReRev (http://rerev.com/default.html).  

 

http://www.pavegen.com/

Another of my favorites is energy harvesting tiles which can but used for sidewalks or for DANCE CLUBS! This is my dream job by the way so if anyone knows the people who work here put a good word in for me ;).  

 

Aaaand now I’m getting distracted by cool things. so I will leave this for later. VIVA LA REVOLUTION

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