Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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I like this idea, only I think it should be run by the government.

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giant spring generator

'energy farms' could bring electricity to developing nations
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I got this idea while taking apart an old clock: The clock was powered by a spring that was a rolled steel band tightened with a crank. This idea is simply a reproduction at a massive scale. Enormous steel springs would be placed into pits within animal grazing areas. The springs would be cranked by cattle or oxen yoked to long timbers. Once tightened, the springs could power a small generator for a cheap source of electricity.
positron, Mar 08 2002

Or the springs could power the Brutus phonograph. http://www.tinfoil.com/brutus.htm
The five foot format for recording needs a powerful spring...and a strong way to wind it. [Amishman35, May 15 2002]

Giant Spring Generators. http://www.bestspring.com/frame4.html
Um, they make giant springs. [Cedar Park, Oct 04 2004]

Other horse machines http://ina.tamu.edu/LChorseferry.htm
[Worldgineer, Oct 04 2004]

Giant Springs State Park http://www.ci.great...ation/giantsprings/
Look, they even occur in nature. [Ander, Oct 04 2004]

[link]






       Somehow I doubt that would be the most efficient way to turn the food that the animals eat into electricity.
JakePatterson, Mar 09 2002
  

       But enough you get a large enough herd all moving the same direction, and grazing as they would already, the device would take advantage of that wasted motion. Complicated yes, but feasible. Better still, a power generator sidewalk, like a giant treadmill.
rbl, Mar 12 2002
  

       It's early here! 1) All the cows, goats whatever are all moving around grazing. Get them to move in the same direction and harness that energy, it was wasted anyhow. 2) Speaking of cattle. All the people that work in big cities spend at least some time on the sidewalk. Create a generator treadmill to produce power. Make the sidewalks one way only, down each side of the street. As the hordes move along they produce power. (Ok so we need a method to keep them moving, some policing required)   

       I trust I make myself obscure?
rbl, Mar 12 2002
  

       most certainly
po, Mar 12 2002
  

       make them kneel, UB
po, Mar 12 2002
  

       they all pull the generator behind them, either with a long cable or wireless transmission (go for the gusto!). No circular path issues.
rbl, Mar 12 2002
  

       springs cant be made out of steal. all springs are made of metals with a high elasticity so they are.... umm... springy. thats why they come back to thier prevoius postion, unlike most metals that will just stay when bent, steal is one of those metals. im not sure but steal might be a refined metal that is vary strong but once it bends it shatters, this on a masive scale would kill anything near the proposed steal spring... bye bye livestock
i-Mer, Mar 13 2002
  

       Ant if sume theif where ta steel those steal springs then buy buy energy.
neelandan, Mar 15 2002
  

       Buy buy Energy? Are you share that's wyse?
stupop, Mar 15 2002
  

       well, well it appears Im suffering from an acute case of "foot in mouth" diease
i-Mer, Mar 16 2002
  

       sssssssssssssss a few of 'em to help ya, iMer.
neelandan, May 15 2002
  

       Couldn't we just create a convincing artificial reality grazing field, filled with gourmet grasses, then plug the cows into this simulation and feed off their electrical impulses? Like in the Mootri... er Matrix?
rapid transit, May 17 2003
  

       I don't see everyone's problem with this idea. Livestock have been used for hundreds (thousands?) of years to do everything from grinding grains to paddeling ferries (see link). I don't think it's a big stretch to hook a generator up to a wheel, and a spring would be a good way of keeping the power output constant.
Worldgineer, May 19 2003
  

       Wreck of a horse powered ferry. Amazing.
neelandan, May 19 2003
  

       What's up with all the enslavement of cattle ideas? Freedom! Freedom for the cows! Gets a fishbone!
Blisterbob, Aug 21 2007
  

       It's like The Meatrix
marklar, Aug 21 2007
  
      
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