What contains the most energy per square meter in our solar system? The Sun? The Earth's Core? Uranium? No...not even close. Without a doubt...the most energetic object in the universe is the human child.
At least...that's what everyone who has ever had one of their own seems to be telling me. And I'm not about to try to argue with millions of moms, no matter what the laws of thermodynamics tell me. But, as with any source of raw energy, the question becomes how do we capture that energy. Unfortunately, five year-olds don't come with three-pronged sockets.
Well David Sheridan, a 23 year-old product design student from Coventry, England has designed a power generator that harnesses energy from children. The modified seesaw converts the movement of the kids into electrical energy which can then be transferred by an underground cable to a nearby classroom. Sheridan hopes to one day create a playground full of energy-producing playground equipment. His calculations show that after only 10 minutes of use, the seesaw could light a classroom for the evening.
This isn't the first time seesaws have been used for practical purposes though. The Gaviotas community in Columbia has a seesaw that is used to pump groundwater. And it's not the first time people have looked to children to create power: Sony has a line of upcoming kid-powered gadgets for Japan.
The question, of course, is cost. If wind or solar can produce more energy for less money, it's not all that useful. But Sheridan has won a $10,000 grant to develop the idea, so there shouldn't be too much trouble determining the feasibility of the electro-seesaw.
If it works out, and isn't too expensive...I might look into getting one for EcoGeek headquarters (my house.) My wife and I could work off some calories, have some fun and, of course, slow down the electricity meter for a while.
Image from Pittsinger on Flickr
written by Penina, April 07, 2008
written by HD, April 07, 2008
written by gmoke, April 07, 2008
written by celticsolar, April 08, 2008
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