During a class project my group was given the of task building a replacement for something that would normally require connection to the electric grid. We focused on generating electricity using our everyday movement. Our final idea was to use the motion of people walking through a revolving door to create electricity, this electricity can then possibly be used to light the lobby, and/or power a ticker that shows the amount of electricity created by the revolving door, CO2 emissions reduced, tons of coal saved etc. You can follow our progress at mousetrap5.weebly.com.
This idea however is just one of the many possibilities that can be done using the human body to generate electricity. Two natural places for body movement to be converted into electricity are fitness centers and dance clubs. Converting the mechanical energy created from biking, running on a treadmill or power lifting into electricity could help power the very same Gym people are working out in. A Dutch environmental group is building a club in Rotterdam that will create electricity from the vibrations of everyone’s feet. This technology could also be used in walkways that receive a lot of foot traffic.
There is already a watch on the market that is powered by the motion of the wearer. With advances in the efficiency of this technology the same concepts could be used to help power cell phones and ipods. Kinetic energy may not be able to power the entire device but it could at the very least add battery life to the products. There has been similar research in putting technology like this in the shoes of soldiers to power a battery. This can then be used to charge items such as medical sensors, personal battery chargers and range finders. Using kinetic energy to power devices isn’t just limited to human movement. Vibrations from factory equipment or even washers and dryers could be used to help reduce the amount of electricity these items require from the grid. The advancement of this technology will help realize the potential of these and many other ideas.
Here is an interesting article on the topic: