Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Pavegen To Tap Pedestrians For Power In the UK

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the electric-slide dept.

Power 197

An anonymous reader writes "Several years ago Laurence Kembell-Cook unveiled Pavegen floor tiles, which capture kinetic energy from footsteps and convert it to electricity. Now after two years of product testing and picking up a slew of awards across the U.K., Pavegen has received its first commercial order — to light up the new Westfield Stratford City Shopping Centre."

cancel ×

197 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Laws of Thermodynamics... (4, Interesting)

niftydude (1745144) | more than 2 years ago | (#37563762)

Energy doesn't appear out of nowhere for free.

Walking on these floor tiles requires more energy than regular floors.
So are they going to start paying brits for all the extra food that they need to eat in order to power these things?

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37563788)

Put down the Cheetos and Dew, cowboy! Another bag and you wont even be able to REACH your pud, you already can't see it. People laugh at all the crusty spooge around your open fly, but hey, you don't care! You're takin' care of needs!

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 2 years ago | (#37563900)

Hey, I'm all for fatties working harder, but spare a thought for the elderly with limited mobility. It would be a shame if they couldn't go out shopping.

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564060)

Make a separate entrance for fat people. Problem solved.

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37564614)

And make it too small.

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (4, Interesting)

onion2k (203094) | more than 2 years ago | (#37563800)

Perhaps walking on these tiles costs the same amount of energy as regular tiles, but some of the energy that is normally wasted as heat and sound is captured and turned into something useful...

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (1)

edalytical (671270) | more than 2 years ago | (#37563892)

Have you ever walked in sand?

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (2)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564026)

A 5 millimeter flex is not even remotely comparable to walking in sand.

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (1)

edalytical (671270) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564278)

Of course not, but both require a relative amount of extra work. Sand if just a great deal more. An example that someone would surely agree takes more energy to walk on is needed. Then by extrapolation the tiles take more emery too. Albeit less.

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (1)

paziek (1329929) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564290)

It is. Just look at how much 5mm is. It sounds small, but for walking its pretty annoying.

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564368)

It's clear from the photos that these stones are clearly visible (they're green with a light in a middle) so someone could choose to walk around them if they wished. Though anyone landing their foot on one is hardly going to care that their foot sunk a miniscule amount.

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (2)

delinear (991444) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564602)

Indeed, some amount of flex is actually more comfortable, so long as it's not too deep. This could well be an improvement for some people over a harder alternative (particularly those who have difficulty with high impact surfaces, like the elderly).

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564708)

On the other hand, if you're walking on regular tiles, and step on this flexing tile, without properly anticipating the different feeling, it may throw a person off-balance.

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (3, Interesting)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564680)

Man this kind of argument pisses me off.

"5 isn't even remotely comparable to 1000".

Sure it is. It is 1/200'ths as much. Plenty comparable.

5 mm flex is not even remotely comparable to world peace, chuck norris, or boreal toads. a flexible floor IS comparable to walking in sand.

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37564806)

You are comparing 5 _with_ 1,000, not _to_ 1,000.

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564960)

It's like comparing apples and oranges.

Apples are green.
Oranges are orange.
Apples are not oranges.

There; comparison succesfully completed.

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (1)

niftydude (1745144) | more than 2 years ago | (#37563972)

The Pavegen floor tiles flex a slight 5 millimeters when stepped on

That's an extra half cm against gravity for each step - so I don't think it is energy that is normally wasted as heat and sound - that is energy that you are being forced to supply.

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37564120)

That's certainly true if you'd walk with less than 5mm clearance, however, most people probably don't.

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564572)

No it isn't. Every time you step, you lift your foot (more than 5mm!), move it, and then place it down. Your weight is transferred to the new tile. If anything, this is going to be better to walk over than a hard floor, because it reduces the amount of stress on your knees from the impacts on the ground. You're not moving another 5mm, you're just encountering resistance 5mm before your foot hits the real ground.

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (2)

Mindflux0 (2447336) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564782)

You have to push through that resistance. That uses more energy. As to other posts about heat/vibration/sound energy, some of that will be gathered I'm sure but that's a minuscule amount of energy.

The extra energy may not be noticeable and may result in a more comfortable floor though, like you said. Walking on a thick carpet would probably make you use more energy than these plates and people pay extra for them.

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564874)

You have to push through that resistance

Have you ever even tried walking? You don't push through resistance on the ground. You place your feed above it and then your weight pushes through the resistance. The energy you put in is in lifting your foot and transferring your weight to it. You push downwards into the foot that you are stepping off, but that one will already be on the solid ground with the switch depressed.

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564974)

Does climbing stairs require more energy that walking on a flat surface?
This is like climbing 5mm high stair steps.

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (1)

Mindflux0 (2447336) | more than 2 years ago | (#37565018)

Have you ever even tried walking?

Nope. I must not know what I'm talking about. What a perceptive reader you are.

The energy you put in is in lifting your foot and transferring your weight to it.

Yes, and expending energy in "transferring your weight" to a higher position on the plate is not at all like pushing through resistance. Or, since gravity provides a resistive force against you moving up and the plate depresses through resistance to produce electricity, is analogous to it in not just one but two ways.

I bow down to your superior analytical skills. I'll burn my physics degree later when I get the chance.

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37563804)

Bring on the FATTIES!!

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (2)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#37563862)

Even if that were true (instead of the tiles just using the energy already dissipated as waste heat and sound), people in developed countries consume far more energy than they expend. The remainder is stored in fat reserves or excreted as waste. That's where this would come from; it'd be an exercise opportunity.

(Come to think of it, it would be worth a thought to install generators in gyms for the same effect.)

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (0)

niftydude (1745144) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564006)

Even if that were true (instead of the tiles just using the energy already dissipated as waste heat and sound)

It is true - see my reply to a poster above about the half cm flex these tiles do.

, people in developed countries consume far more energy than they expend. The remainder is stored in fat reserves or excreted as waste.

*some* people in developed countries consume far more energy than they expend. What about the elderly? the poor? the injured or disabled?
I guess they'll just to shop somewhere else.

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37564192)

What about the elderly? the poor? the injured or disabled?
I guess they'll just to shop somewhere else.

In the shopping malls I've seen, the injured and disabled are normally not a regular part of the crowd.

The poor are rarely differentiable and, at least in the United States, normally still eat fine unless they are incredibly under the poverty line or very bad at using food stamps. In which case they probably aren't shopping at malls in the first place.

The elderly are the only complaint you have that I find even remotely applicable, but even then, the elderly are still a tiny part of the number at shopping malls.

In fact, I'll agree with you. The elderly, poor (who don't eat enough), injured, and disabled should all be given 10 dollars discounts whenever they enter said shopping mall.

Everyone else can just walk since they could probably afford to use a little bit more energy or are those who probably don't care enough to complain.

(Next you'll say that when people use public or private transportation, heavy people should pay more and light people should pay less since heavy people use more gas)

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564896)

In the shopping malls I've seen, the injured and disabled are normally not a regular part of the crowd.

You're in the US so I'm not sure what the situation is over there, but here in the UK we have laws to enable access to facilities for the disabled and it's quite common to see disabled shoppers. Of course, I don't know if they would cover having to expend extra physical effort in order to shop there. I mean, a ramp causes a wheelchair user to expend extra energy but it still satisfies the letter of the law (as opposed to making the store owner put in elevators or lower the whole building a few cm), so this might actually drive a few of the disabled away while still not being illegal.

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564206)

or not step on the green tiles.. from all the pictures i've see it looks like they use them as designs rather than blanketing them. If it is that much of an issue for them they can just not step on them

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37564480)

Green tiles are isles while white tiles hide snide, idle crocodiles, liable to deprive you of your life, leaving a wife in strife with a crying child. (Is there a Peter File?)

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37564148)

Come to think of it, it would be worth a thought to install generators in gyms for the same effect.

Good idea. Let every gym in the land be a power plant. Now if there was only a way to store the energy for the times people weren't exercising. Something like what to do w/ solar power during nights

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564904)

There are lots of ways to store the energy. The issue has always been that, compared to cheap electricity, they're costly, cumbersome and not particularly efficient. It's only the prospect of a bump in prices that's suddenly making these alternatives appealing, so it's something we might see in the near future.

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (2)

deek (22697) | more than 2 years ago | (#37563876)

Two thoughts come to mind:
* This may be a good way to reduce obesity levels in society.
* Shopping centers with supermarkets and/or food courts will make a killing.

Rule #1 of supermarket shopping: never shop while you're hungry.

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 2 years ago | (#37563920)

Energy doesn't appear out of nowhere for free. Walking on these floor tiles requires more energy than regular floors.

The second point does not follow from the first. Walking expends energy. Since the process is nowhere near 100% efficient, it follows that energy can be extracted from the process for useful purposes without requiring more energy to be expended or impeding movement in any way. Energy that would necessarily be expended in any case is put to use instead of being wasted as normal.

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37564070)

On the topic of walking, I think you may need to exercise your mind a bit more...

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37564096)

Since the process is nowhere near 100% efficient, it follows that it's theoretically possible that energy can be extracted from the process for useful purposes without requiring more energy to be expended or impeding movement in any way.

FTFY.

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564992)

Only if these tiles somehow improve the energy efficiency of walking itself.
Otherwise the energy will be extracted from an equally unefficient process.

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (0)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 2 years ago | (#37563924)

The energy is already there- it just currently dissipates as wasted energy, and does nothing. That would be like saying that the wind has to blow harder if you put up a wind turbine or maritime sail- the wind blows just the same, it's just you're capturing energy that would otherwise have been wasted.

The most you can say is that you're taking energy that would otherwise have been used to vibrate the concrete after every step, and are instead using it to power some sort of electrical generator. Which I suppose you could be cross about if you really like vibrating concrete.

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (2)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564046)

The energy is already there- it just currently dissipates as wasted energy, and does nothing

Uh, no, in order to tap energy from pedestrians, the tile needs to give or flex a bit when you step on it. This takes more energy than walking on a perfectly rigid tile. When walking on rigid tiles, the body stores some of the landing energy in muscles and tendons by stretching them out. When the leg is lifted, the stored energy is released.

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564580)

With that small amount of flexing, it's not the energy stored in the muscles and tendons, it's the energy that's dissipated by grinding the cartilage in your joints against your bones. It's equivalent to walking in air-sole trainers, not walking in sand...

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564654)

It's a bit of both. Of course, we're talking about very small amounts of energy robbed from the body, but we're also talking about an even smaller amount of energy that the tile produces.

The energy to produce the tile, plus the energy to produce, package, and distribute the extra food needed to power them will not be gained back by this "green" tile in its entire useful life.

Basically it's just a feel-good project with no tangible benefits.

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37564796)

- Why, in my youth we walked, uphill, both ways!

- But dad, on these tiles we are walking now practically uphill, both ways.

!

Think of the tiles as shock absorbers. They take energy but don't give it back. Just like when walking uphill, you must place your front foot higher, but still lift your back foot from lower point.

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (1)

neyla (2455118) | more than 2 years ago | (#37563938)

Most people would be *extatic* to learn that walking around somewhere now burns more calories than it used to.

Weight-loss is a billion-dollar-industry, people pay trough the nose for the priviledge of having calories burnt.

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (2)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564056)

Think of it as a public service - most tubby city workers could probably do with some more energy expenditure in their day.

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (1)

docilespelunker (1883198) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564142)

Woo! Diet tiles:O) I should buy mum some for Christmas!

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564226)

Woo! Diet tiles:O) I should buy mum some for Christmas!

A proper present for piezo pedestrians.

It might even provide power to cameras.

It'll benefit their joints (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37564308)

It's like walking on grass/dirt/some other flexible surface instead of straight concrete.

You're doing people's joints a favor.

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37564586)

Well look at it this way, if they make it too strenuous for people to endure, they can literally vote with their feet and go shop somewhere else. As metaphors go that's a pretty elegant one :)

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (1)

Markizs (674865) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564664)

So, question is - how many more calories will people burn due to walking?

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (1)

Kashgarinn (1036758) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564676)

That it requires more energy is an added upside to the tiles, it's a selling point.

With the current health issues people have with not enough exercise and hyper-caloric diets, having these is actually a (very mild) health benefit for the people. People who are already getting enough exercise won't mind the tiny bit extra, so the only people left who will complain about this are lazy fucks.

And I hope you're not telling everyone on slashdot that you're a lazy fuck, are you?

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564860)

Only if people aren't compensating the extra energy by eating more.

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (1)

AC-x (735297) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564914)

So are they going to start paying brits for all the extra food that they need to eat in order to power these things

I don't think there's any problem of people eating too little food over here, in fact it might even help with the current obesity problem...

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 2 years ago | (#37565026)

So are they going to start paying brits for all the extra food that they need to eat in order to power these things?

No, quite the opposite! It is a shopping center, after all.

Not only will people be providing electricity to help power the area, they'll be forking over more money into the center's restaurants and food stands from working up an appetite.

Re:Laws of Thermodynamics... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37565028)

Exactly. To put it another way: This is sneak taxation.
And I will send them an invoice for walking on those things.
Also they can prepare for a lawsuit, since they have to provide normal pavements without that shit

But if I were Pavegen, I'd sell it to US cities as "weight loss sidewalks". ^^

Excellent idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37563766)

These should be in all heavy footfall places

Errors in article (5, Funny)

Zouden (232738) | more than 2 years ago | (#37563790)

I was curious how much energy these things produce:

The Pavegen floor tiles flex a slight 5 millimeters when stepped on, capturing kinetic energy which is either stored in lithium polymer batteries beneath its surface or converted into 2.1 watts of electricity and distributed throughout surrounding lights.

It produces 2.1 watts for how long? 1 second? 100ms? I guess it could make some LEDs flash.
Also:

Kembell-Cook is now in the running to win the Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of 2011 Award which would give him 10,000 lbs to use towards his invention.

Wow. Will his prize be in the form of a giant cartoon-style weight with "10,000 lbs" written on it? Perhaps they'll drop it on his house.

Re:Errors in article (1)

N Monkey (313423) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564348)

Also:

Kembell-Cook is now in the running to win the Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of 2011 Award which would give him 10,000 lbs to use towards his invention.

Wow. Will his prize be in the form of a giant cartoon-style weight with "10,000 lbs" written on it? Perhaps they'll drop it on his house.

You do have to wonder if that journalist has ever been outside of the US.... or maybe he was assuming that the original definition of "pound sterling" [wikimedia.org] was still in use?

Re:Errors in article (5, Insightful)

dutchd00d (823703) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564506)

It produces 2.1 watts for how long? 1 second? 100ms?

For as long as you keep walking, I guess. As long as you produce a Joule each second, you're producing 1 Watt.

The potential energy in a gravitational field is m * g * h, so if you sink 5 mm with every step, you're producing 9.81 * 0.005 = 0.04905 Joule for every kg of body weight at each step. If you take p(ace) steps per second while walking, you're producing p * m * 0.04905 Joules per second, i.e. Watts, as long as you keep walking. So an 80 kg (~160 lbs) person who walks at 2 steps per second could theoretically (i.e. at 100% efficiency) produce 2 * 80 * 0.04905 = 7.8 Watts. So 2.1 Watts means a 30% efficiency. Doesn't seem unbelievable to me.

its just a stock /. article ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37563806)

... used to generate a miniscule amount of usable energy.

Interesting ... (1)

slydder (549704) | more than 2 years ago | (#37563814)

... use of and everyday source of kinetic energy. Now if he could just figure out how to embed this in the streets we could have something really interesting going on.

Re:Interesting ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37563910)

Embedding this on the sideways should be as easy as in a mall (assuming it is weather-proof). Driving cars over the tiles is pointless as you'd just recapture (a fraction of) the energy from the car's fuel.

Re:Interesting ... (2)

Kuruk (631552) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564072)

Not pointless if installed on down ramps of car parks. Where is save the car owners brakes.

It would tax a cars fuel on flat ground or ramps uphill. Going downhill your using brakes not fuel.

A step towards green energy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37563822)

... and walking will need more energy, so people who go shopping get a gym membership for free!

Re:A step towards green energy... (1)

outsider007 (115534) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564214)

It's only green if the food you eat is cheaper than oil.

The power source is made out of people (1)

TouchAndGo (1799300) | more than 2 years ago | (#37563844)

"Pavegen To Tap Pedestrians For Power In the UK" I've seen this movie trilogy. It didn't end well. No, seriously, it REALLY didn't end well

Re:The power source is made out of people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37564828)

Soylent Pavegen? Doesn't really have a ring to it... Pavegen Green?

entrepreneurialism in the UK dead since '80s (2, Insightful)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 2 years ago | (#37563864)

There have been very few interesting inventions in the UK since the '80s, and when they are the authorities / marketroids / everyone are so keen to say "LOOK BRITAIN ISN'T DEAD YET!" that every so often there's a hilarious amount of hubbub surrounding nothing.

Thatcher taught the current 30-somethings that there is no personal gain in actually producing anything (and it's still communist to do anything other than for personal gain): if you want to get rich, become a middleman. So that's where most of the intelligence has gone.

Upscaling, this is the real reason why we have the financial crisis[tm] in much of Europe: we have neither the production nor sufficient means of production any more. Germany was careful to maintain its own, thus retaining a now dominant economy - they've taken over Europe in a far more rational and subtle way than earlier last century. The rest of us, taught by the worst, have been spending the last couple of decades moving numbers around, signifying nothing.

Re:entrepreneurialism in the UK dead since '80s (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37563884)

The unions had a pretty big helping hand in this too.

Re:entrepreneurialism in the UK dead since '80s (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564516)

How's that? The unions, while they may have been overzealous about it, were all about the working man getting paid a fair wage for his work, emphasising that productive work has intrinsic value. And perhaps most of that overcompensation was just a response to the knowledge that the management was going to try and bargain them down as much as possible anyway.

Thatcher went out of her way to break the back of the unions. That should be a great sign that what they stood for runs counter to the rabid capitalism that has fucked over most of the Western world.

Re:entrepreneurialism in the UK dead since '80s (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37563982)

Obviously the most important CPU to modern computing isn't important.

Re:entrepreneurialism in the UK dead since '80s (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564126)

The ARM? It is, but ARM is a company from the 1980's who had their key success with the original CPU.

I agree that there are still plenty of examples of British innovation but I think you need a better example.

Re:entrepreneurialism in the UK dead since '80s (1)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564542)

Well ARM is gaining a lot of importance *now*, regardless of their history. Besides ARM is improving their product continuously - as you have to when you want to compete in such a fast-changing market. Anyway, Britain is still one of the leading industrial countries in the world. Whether it's living up to its potential is another matter.

Being German I also have my doubts about our supposedly "dominant economy". We don't train anywhere near enough engineers, we have a lot of unemployment etc ... the grass always looks greener on the other side.

The Pirate Party made it into its first state parliament in Berlin though, so yay us.

Re:entrepreneurialism in the UK dead since '80s (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564128)

The first prototypes appeared around 1986. My ARM2 desktop dates from '88 or '89. The decade itself was full of interesting academic developments because the education system hadn't yet been broken thanks to the tying of higher education with private investment (Acorn was the result of money following brilliance - today brilliance must follow money), the repurposing of polytechnics, the introduction of the one-idiot-size-fits-all national curriculum and the sell-off of exam boards to private publishing houses.

Re:entrepreneurialism in the UK dead since '80s (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37564090)

Dumb journalists and dumb managers make the world look dumb. The UK probably has more than it's share of intelligence and wealth, but the problem is the same as what happened in America--security crazed right wingers shutting down the "liberal" left wing schools, or at least scaring people enough to let the stupid harmless idiots start calling the shots. And then you end up with this.

Re:entrepreneurialism in the UK dead since '80s (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564540)

I blame political correctness to a certain degree as well. Apparently it's no longer acceptable to celebrate ability differences in school, and all children are praised relentlessly regardless of whether they sit there reproducing the works of Einstein or just barely managing to navigate the boogers to their mouth.

"The Incredibles" pins it right to the mat....

When everyone's super ... no-one will be!

Why would you bother to succeed if you're getting the rewards (praise is like crack to a 7 year old) without any effort?

Re:entrepreneurialism in the UK dead since '80s (1)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564858)

To the best people, praise and money are distractions at worst, tools at best. Achievement is its own reward.

Praise and money are only useful - and perhaps wasted - on the mediocre.

10,000 lbs prize (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#37563874)

WOW, that's more than four tons! But of what?

Re:10,000 lbs prize (1)

ben_kelley (234423) | more than 2 years ago | (#37563944)

Probably of feathers, because on the moon they would fall at the same speed.

Re:10,000 lbs prize (1)

Issarlk (1429361) | more than 2 years ago | (#37563960)

Of pounds!

Re:10,000 lbs prize (1)

Captain Hook (923766) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564272)

a british £1 coin weighs 9.5g (I had to look it up).

Which is 0.02 lb which means 10000 lbs of £1 is equal to £500,000 which is a very impressive prize fund.

£1 coin contains 70% copper, 5.5% nickel, 24,5% zinc

Copper = $3.1640/lb = ~$0.04/coin
Nickel = $8.3801/lb = ~$0.01/coin
Zinc = $0.8484/lb = ~$0.005/coin
Total ~$0.05 of material in a coin

Re:10,000 lbs prize (1)

SmlFreshwaterBuffalo (608664) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564004)

Who cares? Just think of all the energy you could produce by dropping it on the tiles!

How much wattage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37563882)

If you sit on a patent laywer and slam their head into one of these over and over-
Can you charge your smartphone at the same time?

I, for on am starting to fucking love this whole green movement thing.

Greenwashing... (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 2 years ago | (#37563946)

so the shopping centre can say "look at what we're doing for the environment"... completely ignoring the energy and pollution costs of making these tiles... we have one of those energy recovery plates in the entrance drive to Sainsbury's [businessgreen.com] in Gloucester... they claim the energy from the cars goes into powering the checkouts.. pure greenwash to make the customers feel slightly happier about the fact they've driven to the store... and effectively they're stealing the energy from the customers as the cars are slowed by the plate... they'd have far more effect on the environment by making it harder to drive to the store and easier to use public transport and bicycles etc. to do the shopping with... PS. the one in Gloucester is positioned in a bad place where people are actually accelerating OUT of a corner into a straight... to be friendly to the customers, it should have been positioned just before a bend to reduce the braking needed

VC catching net (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37563954)

Hmmm, 5mm of flex is a noticeable amount of give, I suspect people may walk on the first tile, wonder why it flexed and then avoid walking on all the others.

I'm not convinced this is anything more than a venture capital catching net, it's shiney, it sounds cool and probably has no problem attracting VC money but in practice I suspect it could take several years for each floor tile to repay it's initial build, installation and ongoing costs, I can't imagine the internal mechanisms of one of these tiles can survive that long without some form of ongoing maintenance, I suspect this is going to end up costing considerably more than the value of the energy it produces.

Wouldn't roads be better? (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 2 years ago | (#37563978)

Trucks are heavier than Oprah and friends.

Re:Wouldn't roads be better? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37564114)

Yeah, think of all that wasted fuel! At least this way some people will get more exercise.

10000lbs (1)

__Paul__ (1570) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564018)

...you've just got to love the US-centric journalist or sub-editor who doesn't know what the UK's currency is.

Maybe it's time to employ some people who have a little more worldly experience than the dolts they have there right now?

Re:10000lbs (1)

Intropy (2009018) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564172)

Oh right, they're metric. They'd give him 44,000 Newtons over there.

Re:10000lbs (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564610)

The UK is only semi-metric. Our packaging labels are metric courtesy of an EU directive, but most people over about 30 still think in imperial measures for many quantities, and many of our goods and services are still customarily measured in imperial.

Our customary beer order (and milk bottle) is the pint (a proper imperial pint of 20oz, not your pansy-arsed 16oz American pint). We discuss people's height in feet and inches, and their weight in stones and pounds. We're probably more likely to ask the greengrocer for 2 pounds of potatoes than a kilo.

And we get what a quarter pounder is. We don't have a "Monarch with Cheese".

Happily the more old fashioned imperial measures, like the chain, rood, rod and perch have all fallen out of common use. I think the most recent measure to bit the dust was the gill - spirit measures in pubs used to be 1/5th of a gill, but they were converted to ml. Not that anyone cares, because it's all "1 measure" anyway, and the 25ml increment that replaced it is marginally more than 1/5th of a gill.

PS : Converting mass to force depends entirely on the local gravity. Easier to convert pounds to kilos.

Re:10000lbs (1)

locofungus (179280) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564886)

In England the spirit measure was 1/6 gill which was smaller than the new 25ml but in Scotland it was 1/5 gill which was larger.

Tim.

Such a waste (1)

Kuruk (631552) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564022)

So they want to make eco friendly power. What do they do, make the floor tile light up when you step on it to show there appreciation for the effort.

OMG. Talk about wasting power.

Finally pulling their weight! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37564064)

So fat people are finally paying back to society for the extra burden they place on the NHS...

Re:Finally pulling their weight! (1)

bbtom (581232) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564282)

Glad to see you appreciate people for more than just their contribution or lack thereof to social welfare programmes.

The energy it produces is negligible (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564210)

The energy that can be captured from a few steps most likely won't even reach manufactoring costs in its lifetime.

Waste of energy in manufacture (5, Insightful)

eastlight_jim (1070084) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564346)

Some quick back of the envelope calculations: FTFA, each tile generates "2.1 W" per step. If we assume a typical step time of 500ms based a pace of 120 steps per minute this could be interpreted as about 1.05J captured per step.

The casing is made from stainless steel which required about 53 MJ/kg [bssa.org.uk] for production in 2004. If we assume a tile casing mass of 2kg that is 106 MJ required for the steel production alone.

The shopping centre may be open around 10 hours a day with perhaps 20 seconds between each step averaged over a typical day. This is 1800 steps per day at 1.05J per step giving a total of 1890 J captured per day. Assuming 100% efficiency and a never-closing shopping centre, this gives an energy breakeven for the steel alone of around 56000 days or 153 years.

I know that other factors are in play such as the potential to raise awareness of environmental issues but this is ridiculous. I noticed that the award that the guy is in the running for is sponsored by Shell and part of me suspects that they know that these things are crap but want to be seen to promote something like this which appeals to the public and appears "green".

Re:Waste of energy in manufacture (3, Informative)

bruce_the_loon (856617) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564440)

You also have to take into account the amount of energy taken to make the ceramic floor tile that this replaces. It probably won't zero out the stainless steel energy, but grinding clay and baking it in a kiln uses some energy.

Re:Waste of energy in manufacture (0)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#37564448)

Thank you. Virtual "+1, only comment that matters" from me.

What boils my piss isn't s much that some retail clowns have fallen for the greenwashing, but that my Goddamn tax money is being used to subsidise this scam.

Eventually we'll have to face up to the fact that most such "renewable" schemes are snake oil that effectively piss fossil energy away on creating very long term discharge batteries. I just hope that we do it before we're too reliant on them to engineer our way out of the cold, dark hole.

Re:Waste of energy in manufacture (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37564736)

This so damn much. Discos, yeah, fine, gyms, yeah, fine, but a bloody sidewalk?

Solar power, wind power, even those new advances with using low-level kinetic energy in the air produced from sounds, are better than this.
And this isn't even speaking about the really efficient solar methods either, the stuff we have yet to mass-produce, really promising tech produced in labs, such as those pretty damn efficient windows that focus a considerable amount of the EM to the sides of the window where smaller solar panels are. Saves so much money, but still outperforms simply due to all the EM landing on them.
Imagine a huge-ass sky-scraper, tending to be made out of your typical steel, glass and concrete, those things could power themselves and probably a few buildings nearby if they were covered in it.
Wind on top of buildings should also be a priority. But they'll require more safety checks because we know these things can break pretty violently if not done right.

This is quite literally scraping energy off the bottom of the bottom, almost like taxing the poor.
I'd be surprised if we were even walking by 200~ years time. Teleporters here we come! Hey, I can dream can't I?

How much energy needs to run? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37564942)

I wonder What will they do to find that the energy

http://www.ajansbsg.com

Oh great. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37565048)

As if shopping wasn't already a major energy drainer for me.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>