Over the decade, the world has been rushing into renewable power development. Sources such as wind, water, and especially solar are promising, but still, they are far from replacing conventional sources. As the renewable unit seems to be in need of "reinforcements", a different approach is generating power from the people.
"Banking renewable power with each step"
I don't know about you guys, but the first thing that comes to my mind hearing this phrase is a hamster wheel. Apparently, that's the idea and we are the hamsters!
The "Verde treadmill" from SportsArt green fitness company has all the functions of a regular treadmill, but it harnesses kinetic energy from your workout and generates up to 200 watts of electricity per hour. The equipment does need to be plugged into an electrical source so that it has a place to send the energy it generated. When a workout begins it will pull a tiny bit of energy just to check that there is a source to send the energy to. Within 3 seconds of movement, you will offset the amount drawn and already be producing energy.
SportsArt wasn't the only one to take this approach. Jessica Matthews and Julia Silverman, founders or Uncharted Play were undergraduates at Harvard when Jessica got inspired in her trip home for Soccket.
Upon her trip home, despite the poor living condition of an African underdeveloped village, Jessica saw joy in every corner she came across. Kids were having fun playing soccer and each game seemed endless. Inspired, Jessica came up with this simple, elegant yet incredibly relevant idea to create Soccket. Soccket is essentially a ball with a mechanism inside that turns kinetic energy into electricity for later use. You can just plug in the LED light that comes with the ball and voila, off-grid light! This might seem trivial, but to the village, not having to rely on diesel generators for light when the sun goes down is a major relief. The conversion rate is amazing as it can turn only 30 minutes of play, into over 3 hours of light.
The social impact that Soccket is creating is phenomenal. The balls are often kept at school, encouraging parents to send their kids to school, so that they can have light later. It's also truly inspiring for kids as Julia Silverman, co-creator of the Soccket said, “The kids thought it was magic, but I could also see the wheels turning in their heads. One boy came back with a drawing of a ball with windmills sticking out of it. They wanted to be inventors, too.”
Though grand, industrial-scale renewable energy is essential, we believe that micro-scale distributed energy is also crucial. Ideas like the Verde treadmill and Soccket are helping to relieve the stress on energy production one exercise at a time. Imagine that globally. Yes, mind-blowing!
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