harvesting energy

Carlos Nazareno object404 at gmail.com
Thu Oct 27 15:49:37 EDT 2011

Wow! De ja vu! I think I asked some of the exact same questions ages
ago here and have been discussing the exact same harvesting methods
with friends when hanging out:)

I think the biggest problem about these are currently cost and

The recess/lunch/playtime thing and strapping the harvesters to kids
and letting them run out and play in schools I would discuss in what
if scenarios with friends and they'd give me strange looks like it was
child exploitation :P

Soccer/basketball, I asked the exact same questions, and I think it's
a question of fragility... *A LOT* of force is generated kicking and
bouncing these balls. Any electronics with moving parts (which is what
typical commercial personal human kinetic energy harvesters use today)
I think will break if you stick them in these balls.

Another problem is the mechanism for storing the electricity and then
getting it out afterwards. Like if you put a depressed plug like where
you pump in air. Has to be extremely robust though. IMHO it can be
done though, but it sounds very expensive.

The playground merry go-round etc -> that seems the easiest route, and
funding for experimentation on building things like these can probably
be sourced from the entities/groups/donors in charge of parks and
playgrounds who're interested in that stuff for their kids. Prototypes
can start as "art installations" and from there build efficiency and
experimentation on how to make this kind of energy-harvesting activity
fun for children and not be work and for them to do it over and over
again? Most obvious is like maybe putting blinky lights and things and
gameifying it somehow. The good thing with this approach is that
whatever is developed + lessons in "the first world" with parks,
playgrounds & schools as laboratories and can be brought to more
remote areas after. The problem with going direct with these to the
remote areas is that you need to be already based there and have
access to all the materials & funding needed to R&D these to
optimization. If you are already based in these areas however and
access to materials... stuff like this can be built garage style :)

An extension of this project is harvesting energy from vanity
institutions like gyms or any teen-adult activity like sports. Gyms
and "excess exercise" can actually worse for the environment than
driving cars sometimes. Sounds counter-intuitive, but this is the
Math: what is the cost of growing, raising transport, carbon
emissions, farm runoff waste (factory farming & fertilizers cause a
lot of environmental pollution), etc of the food you consumed and are
now just burning into heat and sweat? It's why biking to work can
actually be worse than using cars like say if you carpool passengers.

Anyway, that way, all that "vanity" energy waste can be harvested a
little, maybe. Attaching them to gym equipment would probably be
easier to implement and be less damageable than with the dance/bag
hiking accessory harvesters (dunnow if those can withstand high impact

Big question: obviously there's a lot of this excess energy among the
more affluent, and for less fortunate demographics for whom wasting
food & energy in such activities may not be affordable... if
environmental-minded "affluent" urban citizens who can afford to
engage in activities like fun runs and then actually harvest energy
and store them in such devices, how do you then transport this
harvested excess energy to the people who actually need them? :-/
That's the other problem of this kinetic harvesting question &
commercial products... they're pretty niche to people who have the
excess resources to go engage in energy-expensive activities, and as
such aren't very affordable to the people who need them the most in
remote areas...

And yes, this is one of the biggest importances of the XO 1.75 going
ARM and improving "normal" Linux (meaning not Android) ARM support ->
low power consumption which is what's needed for sustainable remote
ICT4D, and for the mere fact that the world is facing a fuel/energy

rock on


carlos nazareno

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