Laptop power cranks up a gear
Put the pedal to the... er... laptop
There’s never really been a reliable way of losing weight and saving the planet - and certaintly not one that works while you're sat working at your desk. Until now - a Spanish Polytechnic has invented a laptop that runs on a miniature bicycle.
No need for the gym after work now
The Polytechnic of Madrid’s design means a cycling action by the user is turned into electricity, which powers the laptop via a voltage convertor. The designers claim that the rig lets the
laptop user cyclist adopt a flexible rhythm, hopefully without having to pedal too hard.
The institution's ‘pedal pusher’ laptop was the winning design in an Intel-sponsored competition to create a device capable of powering laptops using only renewable and sustainable energy sources. The Polytechnic won €10,000 (£7200/$14,800) in scientific research funding - and all the cycle clips they could carry.
Other runners-up in the competition included a hydrogen-based design by the Polytechnic of Milan, which uses hydrogen fuel-cells to power a laptop. Runners-up won a free laptop, though presumably not one operated by cyclists.
I would like to power my G4 PowerBook with a treadle powered device. All it would take is maybe 20-30 minutes every half day. Add a second pedal for the treadle and the action would be more rhythmic, natural and efficient. I'm in -- where can I get one???
Stuff the idea of Jocks powering the grid, there are not enough of them.
I have said for years that the best source of renewable energy is small children, and you wont even have to pay them!!
Just build some big hamster type wheels with attached generators, and they will play in them all day, generating megawatts each!!!
Now all I have to do is figure out how to convert megawatts into todger pulling units for the Reg staff to take the idea seriously.
(That's British Standard Todger Pulling Units for all you yanks with your teeny todgers).
Instructions for the Soylent Green charger:
About $300 in cost (not including bike), 300 watt output (healthy young pwer source, 1/2 horsePower).
Please re-read your old O-level physics textbook; specifically, the bit about energy never being created nor destroyed, but merely changing from one form to another.
Using the energy supplied to the pedals by the rider to charge a battery *as well as* propelling the bicycle will require more energy input (i.e., it will feel as though the pedals are stiffer). You can test this out on a bicycle with dynamo lights: disconnecting the bulbs makes it easier to turn the pedals (because there is now no electrical energy being converted mostly to heat, with a tiny bit escaping as visible light).
Anyway, wasn't the OLPC project supposed to have a pedal-powered generator as one of its power options?
@Portable = Dynamo lights
Not so dandy - there's a reason that dynamo lights on bicycles fell out of favour a few years ago: they are a huge drag on the wheel*. They worked by running a wheel on the tyre of the bike - the drag might be reduced with an inductive dynamo, but I don't know if they make those for bikes. You'd need to put a lot of stuff on the hub.
Anyway, I think it's fair enough pedalling under your desk when all the juice goes into your laptop, but increasing the load on a normal bike when you're already putting your energy into making the bike move is really annoying.
[*] and the lights went out when you stopped... v. dangerous at traffic lights.