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Using Gym Rats' Body Power to Generate Electricity

CowboyNeal posted more than 7 years ago | from the other-biodiesel-generators dept.

Power 338

Carl Bialik from WSJ writes "A Hong Kong health club is hoping that a car battery, some StairMasters and dozens of gym rats can help ease the world's energy problems. It is just one of a wave of projects that are trying to tap the power of the human body, the Wall Street Journal reports. The article explains the impetus behind the project: 'The human power project at California Fitness was set in motion by Doug Woodring, a 41-year-old extreme-sports fanatic and renewable-energy entrepreneur, who pitched the experiment to the gym's management last May. "I've trained my whole life, and many megawatts have been wasted," says Mr. Woodring, who has worked out at the Hong Kong gym for years. "I wanted to do something with all that sweat."'"

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can they also make a contraption... (4, Funny)

tuxette (731067) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205010)

...that will collect the energy generated by all the jiggling rings of fat you see on most people these days?

Re:can they also make a contraption... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18205036)

Fat is stored energy. What you need to do is pay them for liposuction, like buying oil drilling rights.
it would give a whole new meaning to the phrase "fat farm".

Re:can they also make a contraption... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18205074)

That seems to me indiscriminatorio, is a way to accuse the fat people, who fault does not have don't mention it http://www.dovoyeur.com/ [dovoyeur.com]

Re:can they also make a contraption... (5, Interesting)

daveinthesky (608820) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205202)

Re:can they also make a contraption... (1)

tuxette (731067) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205416)

No, no, no, you don't get it. From TFA:

Larry Rome, a biology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, recently launched a company called Lightning Packs that aims to sell backpacks that generate electricity from the jiggling motion of walking. In a recent test, his prototype was able to produce about 15 watts of power from the up-and-down motion of the pack.

I was thinking something along the same lines, though harnessing energy from the up-and-down motion of fat bellies, fat asses, thunder thighs, etc...

NOOOOOOOOOO (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18205350)

NEW YORK -- Conan O'Brien, the host of long-running television program "Late Night With Conan O'Brien," died Thursday night after stepping on a manhole cover apparently electrified by a faulty underground cable, witnesses and police sources said. If confirmed to have been caused by stray voltage, the comedian's electrocution would be the third such fatality in New York this winter.

Witnesses said O'Brien, 44, had been crossing Columbus Avenue with his wife and children when he suddenly yelled and fell to the street thrashing. After another pedestrian was shocked trying to assist him, police officers kept everyone else away. O'Brien lay twitching in the intersection for over fifteen minutes before the Fire Department was able to reach him using a ladder, police said.

Re:can they also make a contraption... (3, Interesting)

mappemonde (1052784) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205464)

mmm...does this sound kind of like a Matrix (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0133093/) type beginning to power generation? First we go with treadmills and cycle bikes and then move on to people who are undesirable (prisons, homeless, etc) and then further the trend... Don't like it.

I can't wait... (5, Funny)

FredDC (1048502) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205020)

... to see the guy on the threadmill yelling at the guy on the stairmaster to "go faster!"

Are you working on the assumption (2, Interesting)

benhocking (724439) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205308)

Are you working on the assumption that treadmills require electricity? Because I can tell you from experience that they do not. My grandparents had an antique treadmill that still worked 10 years ago (I have no idea what happened to it after they died), and there was no electricity involved.

If your merely stating that treadmills are not as efficient at generating electricity (or if there is some joke I'm just not getting, which is quite possible), then I won't disagree with you on that one.

You're obviously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18205380)

missing something...
The man said threadmill, which is, I presume, a machine at which one mills thread.
Which probably puts a decent hit on the ol' 110. :)

Schwarzenegger beat them to it (2, Funny)

giminy (94188) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205034)

Ahnald was already doing this in the 1970s. In his excellent movie _Hercules in New York_ [imdb.com] , he threw a lightning bolt in one scene. I believe he wasn't wearing a shirt. I also believe the lightning bolt was actually a grounding rod, bent into a jagged, vaguely lightning bolt shape. See, you have shirtless bodybuilder, lightning bolts, and grounding rods. Truly Ahnald was a man ahead of his time.

Ahnald, you've come a long way...baby.

Inefficient use of human body (5, Insightful)

Reverse Gear (891207) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205040)

The article doesn't hide this either, but there is really very little real energy to be won in this way, I don't really get what Mr. Woodring says about megawatts being wasted though, no human is able to generate that much electrical power, maybe he refers to megawatthours which he might be right about, but it would have been generated over the span of many years.

I think it would be more efficient if the people who go to the gym instead would just put on a pair of running shoes and would not have to exercise in a room that had not to be lit and heated for the purpose of them having a place to exercise.

I guess the best thing about this is that it might raise some people's awareness of how much energy different electrical devices use during the day and might help them remember to shut them off and think of energy efficiency when they buy new equipment.

The good thing about the way the human body works is not how much energy we use or generate, our biggest strength in this is the precise and versatile we can use our bodies and the energy we generate from the our food intake.
For example I bet you can save a lot more energy and pollution from exercising by getting wood for heating than you would ever be able to make by exercising a stair machine or spinning device.

Re:Inefficient use of human body (4, Interesting)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205068)

I guess the best thing about this is that it might raise some people's awareness of how much energy different electrical devices use during the day and might help them remember to shut them off and think of energy efficiency when they buy new equipment.



Yes. Try generating 200W of electrical power with your body, and see how long you can keep it up.

Re:Inefficient use of human body (2, Interesting)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205098)

I see what you and the other fellow are saying. I remember that in Expo 86, there was a claptraption, where people would sit on stationary bikes, and pedal away, to light up some light bulbs. It took much effort. I'm sure that the system could have been made more efficient with flourescent lamps, and better gearing.

I do have to wonder, though, wouldn't the electrical savings eventually pay for the generators? Or maybe they could come up with some kind of system to turn a fan, so that there won't be a need for air conditioners.

Re:Inefficient use of human body (5, Insightful)

Eivind (15695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205240)

Possibly, but doubtful. As stated, if the exersize-bikes where in use for 10 hours/day, they'd pay back the investment in 82 years, but since they probably get replaced within 5 years anyway, that's never going to happen.

It's much easier to *save* energy than to *create* it.

Replacing 10 of the ligth-bulbs in the gym with modern low-energy ones would've had a larger effect on energy-savings, and would've costed less than the $15.000 this cost.

It's a gimmick, nothing more.

Re:Inefficient use of human body (1)

mrvan (973822) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205422)

And worse: the 15.000 initial costs undubitably includes a lot of used energy: to drive the people installing the system, to create the batteries, wires, and generators etc; moreover, batteries include nasty chemicals and all electrical equipment consists of metals of which the reserves are finite.

If it costs 15000$ to generate around 1000$ worth of energy (5 years at around 200$ a year) I would think that the environmental impact and possibly the energy alone of installing the 15000$ system is going to exceed the savings over the expected lifteime

Re:Inefficient use of human body (1)

antoinjapan (450229) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205488)

The initial cost is always high for a new product and one off prototypes. Also they actually the stuff as an afterthought to already built gym equipment. If the gym's parent company wanted to roll it out then it wouldn't cost the same each time, it would be more efficient as they'd buy purpose built machines that maximise the energy generated and with economies of scale the price would continue to drop while the grid energy prices and oil prices will continue to rise.

Re:Inefficient use of human body (4, Insightful)

Eivind (15695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205592)

True. Nevertheless, for this application, even an order of magnitude reduction in price wouldn't be enough. Currently it takes 82 years for payback -- assuming 10 hour/day usage (which is excessive, very few machines are in practice used even half of this)

So, with an order of magnitude improvement, (i.e. $1500 not $15.000) in price, you'd still be looking at 8.2 years of 10 hour days for payback. (or on the order of 20 years or more for more typical gym-use) this for equipment that is typically replaced after aproximately 3-5 years.

Harvesting "human power" will never be able to do much for your energy-bills. It can make sense for other reasons though. For example, a handy that is powered by movement, and thus stays charged forever aslong as you're walking/moving would be a very practical thing to have for many people. I'd love this in my GPS too: I only bring it along when I go hiking in the mountains anyway, if my movements could somehow supply the (small; sub 1w) power-requirements it'd mean I could have it on all the time and never worry about running out of batteries again, rather than turning it on to log a certain point-of-interest only occasionally during the hike as I do today.

With low-enough energy-demands I could see this for for example remote-controls or wireless game-controllers too. Never having to replace batteries is a nice thing, more for practical reasons than for cost-reasons. (rechargable batteries aren't that expensive anyway)

Infantry also has need for gadgets. Many of them would benefit from being able to work indefinitely without access to recharging and/or new batteries. (nigth-vision, GPS, radio, led-torches, ...)

Re:Inefficient use of human body (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18205684)

Yes. Try generating 200W of electrical power with your body, and see how long you can keep it up.

Hey whippersnapper, I can keep it up just fine.

Re:Inefficient use of human body (1, Insightful)

Baron Eekman (713784) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205092)

Indeed. If you want power, just burn the food you eat, that can be done far more efficiently.

And guess what your body produces by generating power from sugar: yes, carbon dioxide. There is no environmental gain here at all.

Re:Inefficient use of human body (1)

johnw (3725) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205152)

There is no environmental gain here at all.
Not quite correct. Yes, if you were going to make people take exercise as a means of generating power then you're right - there's no environmental gain. This isn't what's being proposed though. People already take the exercise and currently all the energy which they expend is wasted as heat. The idea is to tap energy which would otherwise go to waste, so there is a potential environmental gain.

Re:Inefficient use of human body (0, Redundant)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205288)

As another poster pointed out: Try powering a lightbulb on a bike.

Re:Inefficient use of human body (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18205196)

Why are americans so ignorant and uneducated when it comes to CO2. It is as if you dont learn this stuff in compulsory highschool. What is it americans actually DO in high school? Bible studies or some shit like that? :)

When our bodies burn sugar we exhaust CO2, yes. But since this CO2 was originally taken from the air during the growth of the plant, there is no net addition of CO2 to the atmosphere. The food we eat is grown in our atmosphere; thus we have a CO2-circle. If this natural CO2-circle somehow was unstable and more CO2 was released than what was consumed we would not be living today. Think before you write.

This would be an environmetal benefit if we compare to generating the same energy by burning fossil fuel. Say coal. Burning coal is not part of the CO2 cycle - thus it adds CO2 to the atmosphere. The danger is NOT CO2; but from where the C in CO2 come frome. Why do you always get this wrong, its quite irritating.

Also I guessed the first reply to this post would correct you, but noo.

Re:Inefficient use of human body (2, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205246)

A lot of petroleum is used in the food production chain, so you aren't quite carbon-neutral unless a bio-fuel is being used with all of the farm equipment, food processing equipment, and transportation infrastructure which brings the food by train or truck to your store.

Re:Inefficient use of human body (1)

brother bloat (888898) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205634)

The Oxygen (O) part of the CO2 we output comes from the O we breath. The Carbon (C) comes from SUGAR. Here's a diagram of the Kreb's cycle: http://www.sp.uconn.edu/~bi107vc/images/mol/krebs_ cycle.gif [uconn.edu] . For a full overview of metabolism, go here: http://www.sp.uconn.edu/~bi107vc/fa02/terry/metabo lism.html [uconn.edu] . I think you've mistaken the law of conservation of matter with the "law of conservation of molecules" (which doesn't exist).

Re:Inefficient use of human body (1)

prefect42 (141309) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205666)

There is an environmental gain, since this activity is happening anyway. People are right when they suggest that people could exercise differently and thus save more energy than this would generate, but if this could pay for the generation equipment (financially and environmentally) then this is no bad thing if you assume that people will go to a gym and exercise.

Re:Inefficient use of human body (1)

I am Jack's username (528712) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205164)

If all the exercise machines were in use 10 hours a day for a year, the gym could generate roughly $183 worth of electricity. At that rate, it would take about 82 years to pay off the initial $15,000 investment.

Enviu, a Dutch environmental group, is building a nightclub in Rotterdam that will have a dance floor that converts vibrations from all those feet into electricity. One potential design for the floor involves piezoelectric crystals, which generate a small electric current when compressed. But Enviu's 20-by-20-foot floor cost $260,000 and will generate only enough power to run some lights embedded in it.
While there's potential in the human-powered area, these examples are clearly making things worse:

There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root, and it may be that he who bestows the largest amount of time and money on the needy is doing the most by his mode of life to produce that misery which he strives in vain to relieve." - Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Re:Inefficient use of human body (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205212)

Only 20% of the body's energy is derived from food.
We don't respirate all that oxygen for nothing !

Re:Inefficient use of human body (1)

phlipped (954058) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205478)

Only 20%? respirate oxygen?

Where do you get this stuff from? It's not like what you're saying is some common misconception, or even some corruption of the truth, so I'm quite flummoxed as to how you came up with the figure of 20%? Why not 30%, or 40%.
Hey, while you're at it, why not just make it 100% - and then you'd actually be correct.

You're missing the point... (1)

Shoeler (180797) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205224)

The point isn't in the energy *WON* - it's in the energy *NOT USED*. I don't know if you've ever hooked a kill-a-watt (current measuring device) to a treadmill, but those suckers suck powah! Mine rated between 12 and 15a, and has actually tripped its shared 15a outlet when I get going really fast on it(well, at least fast for me - about 8-9 mph).

If you do distance as I do, that's a decent amount of power not used on the grid if my energy is going 100% into making the thing work, instead of the grid feeding a motor, etc.

Re:You're missing the point... (1, Insightful)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205530)

Remind me again why you treadmill people don't just go outside?

Re:You're missing the point... (2, Informative)

moeinvt (851793) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205786)

"Remind me again why you treadmill people don't just go outside?"

Well, lets' see . . .

below zero(F) temps with high winds
Sunset prior to the end of the work day
Precipitation
Treacherous footing
narrow roads with high snow banks

I love to run outside, but it's not worth frostbite, a twisted knee or ankle, or being hit by a car.

Re:You're missing the point... (1)

todslash (1025980) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205540)

The point isn't in the energy *WON* - it's in the energy *NOT USED*. I don't know if you've ever hooked a kill-a-watt (current measuring device) to a treadmill, but those suckers suck powah!

It is energy "won" because they're not using treadmills. The article says that he uses stair-masters and elliptical trainers, neither of which use any mains electricity. They do contain a small motion-based generator to power the display which was modified to output the extra electricity generated.

Treadmills are inherently inefficient because they keep going round even if you're not on it. The green solution would be to throw out the powered treadmill and get an unpowered one.

Re:Inefficient use of human body (0)

drsquare (530038) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205286)

I think it would be more efficient if the people who go to the gym instead would just put on a pair of running shoes and would not have to exercise in a room that had not to be lit and heated for the purpose of them having a place to exercise.
What about the energy generated by the ambulance after you're mugged, beaten or run over?

Outdoor running isn't a very effective exercise, you can't go very fast in case you run into someone, and you're still going to have to go to the gym anyway for the weights.

Re:Inefficient use of human body (0)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205300)

The article doesn't hide this either, but there is really very little real energy to be won in this way

You can get about 500 watts from a human body. If you actually get 200W per person and you have 20 people then thats 4000W which you can use to run lights, TV's, etc. Doesn't sound trivial to me.

Re:Inefficient use of human body (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205552)

4kW is trivial when you consider that the gym probably draws 100kW at peak times, perhaps more. Lighting alone (most gyms use those huge halogen lamps) can be 300W per lamp. Aircon, prolly say 5kW conservatively. TVs, equipment, cleaning gear, pool pumps and other things will take another big bite. No, 4kW is trivial. Those small foot heaters you can buy for $20 in at the hardware store draw up to 2kW alone. So, by your math, 10 people are needed to keep my feet warm? Waste, waste waste.

And then there's the energy required to manufacture all that custom low volume shit they needed to make the whole human powered electricity stuff work. I'm guessing the whole thing is a stunt that is net negative environmentally.

Re:Inefficient use of human body (1)

locofungus (179280) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205312)

The article doesn't hide this either, but there is really very little real energy to be won in this way, I don't really get what Mr. Woodring says about megawatts being wasted though, no human is able to generate that much electrical power, maybe he refers to megawatthours which he might be right about, but it would have been generated over the span of many years.

Agreed. Top cyclists eat about 10000 calories/day while in competition. This works out to something like 30MJ over and above the 2500 calories for normal people.

Assume their muscles are at most 25% efficient and it's less than 8MJ useful energy output.

And that's for the top athletes while in competition.

Tim.

I found in the days when I used to travel around London from one meeting to another that cycling was by far the most reliable means of arriving on time--much better than taking the bus, a taxi or the Underground. And it was good exercise into the bargain. Cycling or walking to work on a regular basis is one of the best contributors to good health, far more worthwhile than the practice of a hospital executive I heard about the other day. He took his health seriously. He believed in getting into his company car twice a week and driving to a gym in order to sit astride a stationary bicycle. - Lord Thomson of Monifieth (from hansard)

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld199899/ ldhansrd/vo990127/text/90127-03.htm [parliament.uk]

Re:Inefficient use of human body (3, Insightful)

LarsWestergren (9033) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205318)

maybe he refers to megawatthours which he might be right about, but it would have been generated over the span of many years.

For one person yes, but if you have hundred or thousands of customers per day pedalling/rowing/stairstepping, it adds upp quickly

I think it would be more efficient if the people who go to the gym instead would just put on a pair of running shoes and would not have to exercise in a room that had not to be lit and heated for the purpose of them having a place to exercise.

a) People in big cities rarely have good places outdoors to run. b) If it is winter and snowy, it can be difficult to excercise outside too. c) Some people prefer to build muscles over doing cardiovascular excercise. d) Heating and lighting a gym isn't more wasteful than heating and lightning any other room.

I guess the best thing about this is that it might raise some people's awareness of how much energy different electrical devices use during the day and might help them remember to shut them off and think of energy efficiency when they buy new equipment. The good thing about the way the human body works is not how much energy we use or generate, our biggest strength in this is the precise and versatile we can use our bodies and the energy we generate from the our food intake. For example I bet you can save a lot more energy and pollution from exercising by getting wood for heating than you would ever be able to make by exercising a stair machine or spinning device.

Now these points I agree with 100%. :)

Re:Inefficient use of human body (1)

dfgchgfxrjtdhgh.jjhv (951946) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205320)

maybe they should light & power the room from the power generated from the exercise machines. it'd be a new incentive to work harder in the gym, if you dont, it goes dark & gets cold.

Re:Inefficient use of human body (1)

PDAllen (709106) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205362)

I'm fairly physically fit - so I can generate 320W of mechanical energy for an hour on a bike. Which is about 1p worth of electricity; less than is used to provide light, music and a hot shower afterwards. And a typical (fat, unfit) person would not be able to generate half that. There are some practical ways to generate electricity that don't involve fossil fuels (nuclear, hydro, geothermal, wind in some places, solar in some places), but this is not one of them.

Re:Inefficient use of human body (1)

wall0159 (881759) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205368)

Even more so, it amazes me how many people go to a gym and then get back in their car. If they walked/cycled, they could burn those calories in a much more useful way!

Re:Inefficient use of human body (4, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205544)

Maybe it's about efficiency. If they spare time, they might choose to do just that. For the rest of us (who have NO spare time) it's about getting the most efficient exercise in the time we have.

Re:Inefficient use of human body (1)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205406)

I think it would be more efficient if the people who go to the gym instead would just put on a pair of running shoes and would not have to exercise in a room that had not to be lit and heated for the purpose of them having a place to exercise.

You've obviously never been to Hong Kong. Until quite recently it was the most densely populated place on the planet. A sprawling city like this is not really a place for running. A better source of excercise might be to take the staris instead of the elevator occasionally in your 40 story apartment block.

Re:Inefficient use of human body (2, Informative)

CagedBear (902435) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205424)

I bet you can save a lot more energy and pollution from exercising by getting wood
I grew up in a house that had no heat except for wood. We cut up tree tops left behind by loggers and dropped any trees that didn't look healthy or were in a cluster.

It was good excercise, but also incredibly dangerous and we created pollution in the process. Chainsaws, tractor, log splitter, etc. I can't imagine cutting wood without these machines. At least not for the big farm house we lived in. I guess that's why the little house on the prarie was so damn small.

Re:Inefficient use of human body (4, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205476)

I think it would be more efficient if the people who go to the gym instead would just put on a pair of running shoes and would not have to exercise in a room that had not to be lit and heated for the purpose of them having a place to exercise.

While that's true, running isn't ever going to replace gyms. Two immediate reasons are that running does little or nothing for building up muscle bulk, and it's a high impact exercise (as opposed to something like swimming or cycling, where you're not pounding the pavement the whole time).

Re:Inefficient use of human body (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205512)

Five or six people on exercise bicycles could generate a megawatt and if they're fit could keep going for an hour.

One beneficial effect might be, as you say, to raise awareness of energy. It's confusing and annoying that there are many different units for the same thing: power measured in watts or in horsepower, energy measured in joules, calories (and remember the confusion between calories and kilocalories), kilowatt hours, British thermal units and other nonsense.

Re:Inefficient use of human body (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205562)

Right. At the local science center, I found you have to pedal pretty damn hard just to power one light bulb.

There's no way that he's getting megawatts out of a gym, in any reasonable scope of time.

Most stationary bikes use human power to turn themselves on, which is nice, I guess, but the physics of the situation make his pipe dream unrealistic.

Re:Inefficient use of human body (1)

dave_mcmillen (250780) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205656)

The article doesn't hide this either, but there is really very little real energy to be won in this way ...

Yeah, you're right, but at the same time, I don't really see the harm in trying to do something with the energy that people dump into, say, a flywheel when riding a stationary bike. Currently it just spins around to produce resistance, so why not have it turn a little generator? Bring your rechargable batteries with you to the gym, plug them in, and walk out with them recharged! I agree that it certainly shouldn't give people the impression that they are Doing Something to Save the Environment.

Of course, the 100% efficient mode of energy recovery is using the heat dissipated by all that exercise, but that happens automatically (if it happens at all): with a room full of sweating exercisers, you should have to heat the place less in the winter and thus use less energy. Unfortunately, the gym highlighted in the article is in Hong Kong, so it's almost certainly air conditioned year-round rather than heated, so all that heat dissipation is the last thing you want. Still, no harm charging some batteries (or something), since that's still recovering a bit more of the energy that would otherwise go into fighting the air conditioning system, and thus it's an improvement over the existing situation -- just a very, very slight one.

Re:Inefficient use of human body (1)

purduephotog (218304) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205714)

So what you're saying is that this article is basically: The wheel is spinning but the hamster is dead- right?

More like (4, Insightful)

Zouden (232738) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205042)

It is just one of a wave of projects that are trying to tap the power of the human body

I'd say it's just one of a wave of projects that are trying to tap the venture capital being thrown at "environmental-yet-supposedly-profitable" schemes.

"I wanted to do something with all that sweat." (2, Funny)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205052)

make a gym sweat cologne. now you can tell people you just got back from the gym even if you haven't!

Re:"I wanted to do something with all that sweat." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18205764)

Sweat has a very individual smell. Someone else's sweat smell will not only annoy the person wearing it (unlike the own smell), it will also not fool people who are familiar with the authentic smell.

The big idea (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18205058)

The idea is to not surpress the n-word, but to make the n-word more inclusive. That is, make the n-word the in-word.

Ariyan Brothers are _white_ niggers for example.

We can have mexican niggers, italian niggers (i.e. mafia), political niggers, cuban niggers, muslim niggers, femenist niggers, and slashdot niggers.

inefficiency (1, Informative)

losec (642631) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205124)

The muscle has a efficiency far below 30%.

Though if they could somehow manipulate the dna to create brainless bodies, those could be used as warming bags. You would put a few of them here and there in your home to heat it up. They would be connected to a food and waste facility. And with an intact immune-system and other body functions they would be maintainance free.

Re:inefficiency (1)

Frogular (961545) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205136)

If you can't design brainless bodies, you can simply hook the bodies up to huge heat farms. You have to design a virtual world for their minds to live in, though.

Re:inefficiency (1)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205528)

Though if they could somehow manipulate the dna to create brainless bodies, those could be used as warming bags. You would put a few of them here and there in your home to heat it up. They would be connected to a food and waste facility. And with an intact immune-system and other body functions they would be maintainance free.

You couldnt give that away in Siberia.

Ob. Simpsons (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18205142)

"A 'guyme'? What's a 'guyme'?

[Homer walks into the Gym.]

"Oooh! A 'Guyme!'"


I suspect most slashdotters have never seen the inside of a gym, let alone know what it is.

Never used, but... (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205274)

Sure they've never ever touched a weight... ...but they've installed hidden webcam to spy on ... ahem ! ... to do a detailled physics study of the motion of females' mamamry glands.

Re:Ob. Simpsons (2, Funny)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205548)

I suspect most slashdotters have never seen the inside of a gym, let alone know what it is.

I've seen it. It's full of sweaty, unhappy looking people in awkward clothing. You're better off going for a walk instead.

Swallow The Blue Pill and Wake Up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18205150)

Don't feed the machines, they'll take note and start farming us in a Matrix.

The Stupid! It Burns! (5, Funny)

SQL Error (16383) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205154)

"I've trained my whole life, and many megawatts have been wasted," says Mr. Woodring, who has worked out at the Hong Kong gym for years.
Spending one of those years in science class might not have been a bad idea.

Re:The Stupid! It Burns! (1)

ezzzD55J (697465) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205584)

Both for the great title and the contents of your post.. welcome to my friends list.

solve america's weight problem (2, Interesting)

scenestar (828656) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205156)

What if they started "paying" (like 1 buck per somethingsomething) people for producing energy. they could store and resell it and some people would have a psychological incentive to excersise.

Re:solve america's weight problem (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205344)

What if they started "paying" (like 1 buck per somethingsomething) people for producing energy. they could store and resell it and some people would have a psychological incentive to excersise.

I read once that prisons a couple of centuries ago would sell the energy generated by people doing "hard labour". The idea was that you would have to walk on something like a stairmaster for much of the day, which turns a shaft, which goes through the wall of the prison into the mill next door and does real work.

Re:solve america's weight problem (1)

animaal (183055) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205568)

Yep, except it takes a *lot* of exercise to produce a dollar worth of energy.

Re:solve america's weight problem (1)

markrages (310959) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205604)

But then the mobs would own the bikes and take a cut off the top.

Look, Cheeseburger Brown [cheeseburgerbrown.com] has already prophesied all of this.

Angry rant (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18205158)

Is slashdot a blog about battery technology? I'm not interested in batteries, stop writing about them every day.

Re:Angry rant (-1, Offtopic)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205608)

Slashdot is a blog about technology. In the last year or two, there have been interesting developments where the old, boring battery industry has started interacting with technology. I hear they have managed to wire a "lead acid voltaic cell" to a "digital timepiece" in order to allow a person to tell the time when they are not close to a grid powered clock. This device can be carried on a trolley pulled by horses miles away from mains power. Amazing stuff, really.

How about (2, Interesting)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205166)

putting a generator on a bicycle that is capable of say charging a cell phone or a laptop battery. Perfect for people such as myself who commute by bicycle anyway. Would that be feasible? How much do you think it would cost to retrofit a bike to do that?

Re:How about (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205230)

It's called a dynamo, they've been around for maybe 50 years or more.

Re:How about (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205236)

How much does one of those generators cost that bolts to the bike to generate power a light? The problem would be generating enough current consistently to make it worth while (which isn't going to happen). You're better off paying a couple bucks and charging a cellphone or laptop via a solar panel.

Re:How about (2, Informative)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205388)

I'd agree, I cycle a bike everyday and wouldn't put a dynamo on it. See, the difference with a dynamo on your bike is that you're not tapping energy that would otherwise be wasted, you're sapping the energy that should be going towards moving you between A & B. Sticking a dynamo on an excercise bike may not be such a bad idea, but slowing yourself down to squeeze a few joules into your phone is just silly.

Re:How about (2, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205254)

putting a generator on a bicycle that is capable of say charging a cell phone or a laptop battery. Perfect for people such as myself who commute by bicycle anyway. Would that be feasible? How much do you think it would cost to retrofit a bike to do that?

You can still get generators for running lights at night, probably not much different from the one I had when I was very young, back in the 1970's.

I have hydraulic disks on my commuting bike. Sometimes I want to just drag the brake slightly if I am waiting for a light to go green, etc. Something which inductively couples to the disc would be ideal for that.

Re:How about (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205264)

I don't see why that would be difficult or expensive at all. Buy a small DC motor and strap it on. Maybe have to extend the chain a bit to wrap around it or something...maybe just put a wheel on it and run it right up next to the tire. Either way, I doubt it'd cost more than $20 if you did it yourself.

Re:How about (2, Informative)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205624)

Err... you'd want to watch the gearing ratio. Using a friction pin against the wheel, say the friction pin was large at 5cm in diameter, that's still an insanely high gearing ratio. The motor would put out hundreds of volts and probably fry your phone. Perhaps using an intermediate battery as a voltage regulator would be a good idea.

Re:How about (2, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205266)

Have you ever used those lights on the bike which use a little generator that goes down on the wheel?

In my experience, quite a bit of resistance is added to my peddling, and that's just to light up a puny bike headlight!

Re:How about (1)

locofungus (179280) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205452)

In my experience, quite a bit of resistance is added to my peddling, and that's just to light up a puny bike headlight!

That's why you want a hub dynamo rather than a sidewall dynamo. Also don't get slip in the wet.

Tim.

Re:How about (1)

HistoricPrizm (1044808) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205268)

Probably about $25, considering you can already purchase bicycle lights that operate off the energy from a bike tire's movement. Just swap the connection from the light to the cell phone charger. Laptop probably wouldn't charge, though, unless you had a really, really long commute.

can you do the maths for me? (1)

fantomas (94850) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205372)

me a totally non maths person - what kind of charge would you get? I cycle 8 miles into work (same again back, obviously! maybe a diversion to the shops to add on another mile or so)- takes me about 50 minutes to an hour depending on how I am feeling (hills, across footpaths etc, not just a straight run on a big road). Feasible for getting a significant amount of charge this way from a bike dynamo? or would I just end up charging an AAA battery once a week if I was lucky?

Re:How about (1)

locofungus (179280) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205436)

What you really want is one of these:
http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/schmidt.asp [peterwhitecycles.com]

Although they nominally have a 3W output@6V they behave more like a constant current source and you can fairly easily get 6W@12V although you have to be going slightly faster.

I have one on my Brompton (http://www.bromptonbicycle.co.uk/) - the light is on at walking pace.

There are cheaper options - the Shimano hub dynamos are about half the price (in the UK anyway) and almost as efficient.

Tim.

pedal bikes can be used to generate power (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18205216)

and I think that a row of them in a gym could produce a reasonable amount of energy.
Now, also put these cycles in prisons where prisoners could get paid / have privileges relational to the electricity they generate.
Also for the people on state benefits/welfare. You want free money? Start pedalling!

Modern life is such a bunch of morosities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18205222)

If those idiots cancelled their gym subscription and instead used their bicycle for all distances below 10 miles, they'd _save_ a lot of time (after all, they don't have to work for gas and the gym subscription, let alone waste time visiting a gym) and lots of energy, to boot.

I mean, get real: 90% of those gym idiots that will proudly "save energy" by running on such devices will drive to the gym by car, wasting at least four orders of magnitudes more of energy than they are "saving".

easier said than done (1)

tuxette (731067) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205364)

I agree with you to some extent, as I live in a place where riding your bike as a form of transportation is possible. But for a lot of other people, it simply can't be done due to lack of proper bicycle lanes or otherwise roads that are safe enough for bicyclists. (Or pedestrians for that matter.)

Only one Matrix reference in 25 comments? (2, Funny)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205250)

What the world is coming to?

Re:Only one Matrix reference in 25 comments? (1, Offtopic)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205746)

What the world is coming to?

The sad realization that the second and third movies sucked?

Progress! (1)

thetroll123 (744259) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205252)

Run 5 miles on a treadmill to charge up your electric car enough to drive you 2 miles?

Why not just run to where you want to go...

Re:Progress! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18205660)

so that you can have a metal barrier between you and the homeless

Generating electric from the body... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18205336)

I already hold the patent for this.

signed.
Uncle Fester.

Walt Disney never pictured this (5, Funny)

Spacezilla (972723) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205396)

Morpheus: What is the Matrix? Control. The Matrix is a computer-generated dream world built to keep you under control in order to change a mouse into this.
[holds up a Duracell battery]
Mickey Mouse:: No, I don't believe it. It's not possible!
Morpheus:: I didn't say it would be easy, Mickey. I just said it would be the truth.

Wow! (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205420)

"I've trained my whole life, and many megawatts have been wasted," says Mr. Woodring

Cranking out "many megawatts" (which is energy per unit time) is beyond extreme sports - he's better than a frickin' Diesel generator! I want to be on his team!

Re:Wow! (1)

jambox (1015589) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205534)

I hear Vin Diesel actually does produce about 5MW when sitting perfectly still.

Re:Wow! (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205730)

I hear Vin Diesel actually does produce about 5MW when sitting perfectly still.

No, you're thinking of Chuck Norris [chucknorrisfacts.com] .

Better heat than motion? (1)

symes (835608) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205442)

I don't know about anyone else but I certainly get a little hot under the collar when I work out. So surely efficiency could be boosted a fair amount through taking advantage of this lost heat using a Thermoelectric Converter [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Better heat than motion? (1)

Ichelo (690294) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205498)

from the wiki "his device accepts a heat input at 900K-1300K" converting kelvin to F... 1160.33F-1880.33F ummm, yeah......

Energy Stored (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18205458)

It's hilarious that people are storing energy because they eat to much the body can't get rid of it. So mass-production (wasting energy by producing it) of food is not efficient in the first place. One factor.

Second factor, people eat more than the body can burn. People pay more for that food and want to eat more and more. So that is not cost-efficient either.

People try to get rid of their energy (fat) by doing some sports. They use energy to waste energy (lights, airconditioning, shower) etc. Not efficient.

All in all, people should stop producing to much of everything. See the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii effect. Huge demand, less provision. Huge demand stays, economy is rising. OK, still the irony of these consoles is that people won't move a bit more except for the Wii. But....

Stop thinking everything is in demand always for 100%. It is not. People start to think efficient. Overproducing will kill the market more and more. It kills the planet already. Resources are drying up. Don't store that energy in your body. Stupid.

Personal: stop eating to much and save the planet. It's not your body that needs it, it's in your mind. Try to turn that around.

- Unomi -

Obviously... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18205692)

...plug their brains into a central computer called the Ratrix...

I've got a better idea (2, Funny)

capn_buzzcut (676680) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205756)

Let's harness the energy generated by having sex. Or even better, the energy wasted by my pathetic attempts to get laid in the first place, which there is sadly a lot more of.

Fallout (2, Informative)

Ostsol (960323) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205776)

Wasn't this an easter egg in Fallout? There was a bonus area that randomly appeared. It was a building where several people inside were running on treadmills, generating power. . .

Help Cut and Move Some Stone (2, Interesting)

rohar (253766) | more than 7 years ago | (#18205784)

If you feeling a bit out of shape and bored of sitting behind a desk, you can come and help me build some massive towers out of stone blocks [energytower.org] . If the convection towers were built from stone, it will take some up-front human labor, but in the end you can say you put together part of a megawatt renewable power station that in the worst case will leave people wondering what we were up to a few centuries from now like we do about Stonehenge [wikipedia.org] .
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