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Barefoot In the Park Treadmill

Grass covered treadmill brings the outdoors inside
  [vote for,

Ever have one of those days in the office that makes you want to run away screaming to a park where you can kick off your shoes and run barefoot through the grass?

Now you can make your escape without leaving your office. In place of the normal rubber belt, this treadmill will have a sponge or porous rubber belt in which grass seeds can take root. The grass will be fed by a water based nutrient-rich solution as is used in hydroponics.

The belt will always be slowly rotating to expose the shade loving grass to the light on the top side and the automatic grass trimming mechanism located on the underside of the belt.

The most trample resistant turf available will be used in order to allow up to a half mile of walking per day. Your actual grass mileage may vary.

half, Apr 13 2003

(?) One possibility . . . http://bz.pair.com/fun/baretread.html
14 Apr 03 | [38Kb image] [bristolz, Oct 05 2004]

(?) My Adaptation http://www.geocities.com/silverstormer
Not nearly as elegant as Bristolz, but you get the idea. [silverstormer, Oct 05 2004]

Silverstormer's interpretation, come to life http://inhabitat.co...ss-wheel/#more-1040
[Worldgineer, Aug 10 2006]

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       This could be implemented with extra-realistic features to customize it to the park of your choice.

For nice areas: flowers slightly to the side, picnic baskets, acorns, etc...
For shitty areas: syringes, broken glass, used condoms. Better wear shoes.
AfroAssault, Apr 13 2003

       Fishbone, simply because I will fishbone any idea that deters you from actually going outside and running barefoot through the grass.
DrCurry, Apr 13 2003

       Oh, that's absurd and petty.
bristolz, Apr 13 2003

       If you get this working, adapt it to a full size outdoor lawn. The automatic trimming mechanism alone makes it worthwhile. Plus it takes away Curry's feeble excuse.
waugsqueke, Apr 13 2003

       //absurd and petty// And that surprises you? ;-)
half, Apr 13 2003

       No. Well, a little.
bristolz, Apr 13 2003

       //how the sod will do on the tight radius// I try to leave out those details for the sake of brevity. Since you asked - that's why I finally went the porous rubber belt/hydroponics route after quite a few permutations of belts with grids, screens and mushroom shaped protrusions and multilayered mesh belts for holding on to soil. I also figured that the rollers/drums on either end would probably have to be more on the order of 12" in diameter rather than the 3 "to 4" that a real treadmill uses in order to minimize the compression and expansion of the root holding medium.
half, Apr 13 2003

       bristolz: not at all - going outside and walking barefoot on the grass is essential to our souls. Planting grass inside may be well-intentioned, but is no substitute, and is on the lines of wolfing your food down at your desk.   

       And there is no grass sufficiently trample-proof to withstand the constant pounding this, what, eight foot patch is going to receive.
DrCurry, Apr 13 2003

       Your actual grass mileage may vary.   

       Did I fail to mention that for a reasonable fee, ContinuouSod, Inc. provides an in-home or in-office service of swapping out your trampled belt with a fresh one as needed?
half, Apr 13 2003

       Curry, this isn't a substitute to walking outside on grass. It's a substitute to walking inside on rubber treadmills.
waugsqueke, Apr 13 2003

       DrCurry's fishbone doesn't bother me (much). I think he falls in to the same paradoxical thought process that I often do. Namely, most of what's posted on the halfbakery has some flaw that could or should prevent the idea's implementation. Therefore I should fishbone everything. . .on the other hand, this site is supposed to about halfbaked ideas so I shouldn't fishbone.   

       Or maybe he just hates me.
half, Apr 13 2003

       Just as long as you're not playing Tiny Tim as the background music.
RayfordSteele, Apr 13 2003

       Also available: The Hopscotch treadmill - just a few chalk additions transforms your ordinary treadmill into a never-ending hopscotch game.
hippo, Apr 14 2003

       I can see where DrCurry is coming from, since I also live in a city with acres of grass - he's near Central Park, I'm near Griffith Park *and* there's ridiculous amounts of ridiculous people going to ridiculous gyms to smell sweat, rather than, um, fresh air.
thumbwax, Apr 14 2003

       There should be a puddle to splash in as well. I'm just working out how to implement a puddle on a treadmill...
hippo, Apr 14 2003

       Although I like the gist of the idea, I cannot imagine how you could get the grass to thrive without some WIBNI magic. It would seem like flexing and movement of the belt would tend to loosen or damage the critical root system. But if you moved the belt slow enough to avoid problems like this, it would be a very boring treadmill indeed.
krelnik, Apr 14 2003

       half: nah, I just hate you ;)   

       Seriously, going back to promoting indoor grass, now, if you designed your treadmill so it had a bed of real grass *around* it, while the belt was made of a soft, spongy grass-like material, then I might like it. (No promises, though.)
DrCurry, Apr 14 2003

       <obligatory "I thought this idea was about"> I thought this idea was about a treadmill hooked up to a video system which would run the movie "Barefoot In The Park" over and over again for all those exercising Fritz Feld fanatics :)   

       Who's to say we have build this on a treadmill? Why not make it a flat, like a disk, set at an angle? You simply walk on the uphill half of the disk. I know it takes up more room, but it solves a lot of the problems brought up here, like how to prevent damage to the root system and where to put hippo's puddle. Besides, this would allow us to sell them in Oz just by making them rotate the opposite direction :)   

       As a side benefit, it just might be a clue as to where crop circles come from.   

       In defense of DrCurry, it would be far more healthy to go outside
Canuck, Apr 14 2003

       Most people can get to a real grassy area, such as a park or knoll, to run if the mood should take them. What I would like is a treadmill to simulate the running environments I can't easily reach, such as a long sandbank halfway to low tide, or the undisturbed 1.5" pavement (sidewalk) snow in the middle of town on a Sunday morning. As it stands, I give your treadmill a croissant. Bake my sandbank (while keeping it moist yet firm, for improved barefoot conditions), and I'll buy you a whole damn patisserie.
friendlyfire, Apr 14 2003

       At least with this, those pesky cops will stop hassling me about running barefoot, and bare-everything-else, like they wont to do.   

       I'm always gettin' hassled by "da man"!
Bowner42, Apr 14 2003

       (+), 2 œ it is!
Shz, Apr 14 2003

       2.5 croissants and a [bristolz] illustration. Ahhhh, halfbakery Nirvana.
half, Apr 14 2003

       Escher would be so proud of you, bris.
po, Apr 15 2003

       Heh. Not very Escher-like, though. His stuff was strange looped. Mine's just strange.
bristolz, Apr 15 2003

       reminds me of a moebius strip nonetheless.
po, Apr 15 2003

       [friendlyfire], I don't really need an entire patisserie. You see, I believe we can bake your sandbank on my flat rotating disk treadmill. We simply scrape off the offensive lovely green fertile grass and dump bag after bag of dull gray, boring sand onto the disk, moisten it with the sprinkler system formerly used to water the grass and Viola! you have your elf a (simulated) beach to trod across. Just add headphones hooked up to a recording of suitable beachy-type sounds and Bob's your uncle! (so to speak)   

       I am still working on the untrodden snowbank request. I'm trying to come up with a way to make fresh snow fall on the treadmill for you to smunch upon then get melted off the other side to be pumped around and made into fresh snow again. The melting and pumping are easy. It's the freezing of water droplets into snow in the space of a few inches that I'm having trouble with.
Canuck, Apr 16 2003

       Might it not be possible to execute this using a big disk that rotates around a center axis -- something akin to walking on a giant lazy Suzan -- rather than in the traditional treadmill belt configuration? That would seem to solve some of the technical issues presented. Added bonus - room for a friend (although you would have to face opposite directions). And . . . woops - I see that Canuck has already halfbaked this supra.
EvilHomer, Apr 16 2003

       Bris, that illustration is brilliant, neatly sidestepping the flexing issue raised by krelnik.   

       Canuck, can you simulate the fresh snowbank by using Really Cold Sand? Would the bare foot be able to tell the difference?
egbert, Apr 16 2003

       Another way round the problem, is to lay the grass on the inside of a giant hamster-wheel [link].
silverstormer, Apr 16 2003

       [canuck] Having never been to Canada, I don't know what colour sand you have, but if it really is all grey, you have my sympathy. I had in mind something in more of a Mediterranean gold/ puma fur/ cornfield hue, with the very tops of the waves occasionally washing over the sandbank (and consequently, my feet).   

       [silverstormer] For the hamster-wheel to work, you would need to either spin the wheel fast enough (and perpetually) for the turf to be held in place by the centripetal force, or grow grass with such extremely strong roots that it could support both its own weight and that of the soil below (above? Radially beyond) it, and grasp tightly to the wheel. I don't know grasses, so I will let any 1/2-groundskeepers in the 'bakery ponder that one.
friendlyfire, Apr 16 2003

       [freindlyfire] Thanks, I had overlooked that problem. Just seemed like a good idea at the time, shirley there must be a solution.
silverstormer, Apr 16 2003

       A belt design exists (in my head) that might overcome the flexing/root damage problem. Difficult to explain, but at a very high level, it consists of small containers the width of the belt hinged together at their bases to form the belt.
half, Apr 16 2003

       Sounds like a Caterpillar / tank track with the treads hollowed out.
lurch, Apr 16 2003

       This is a great halfbakery idea - brilliant! I'll order three for my office now!   

       I love the idea of people leaping up from their deks in their suits, kicking off their shoes and running wildly while really giggling loudly - Would be a sure thing for a happy office - and healthier than ciggy breaks...
Seaneeboy, Apr 16 2003

       In many ways that's more elegant, [silverstormer].
bristolz, Apr 16 2003

       If [silverstormer]'s adaption was wide enough and powered, you could lay down in it experience rolling perpetually down a grass covered slope. Just don't wear light colored clothes to work.   

       [lurch], that's pretty close. The walls of the containers would be made of a somewhat softer material than that. However, a clanking, squeaking, rusty, hulking tank/Cat track tread-mill...now that's exercise equipment for a real man.
half, Apr 16 2003

       a reminder to half. we are not fools! you KNOW?
po, May 07 2003

       I'm pretty sure the grass could be made to cling to the hampster wheel. I've been pulling up a lot of sod around the yard lately and it can definitely hold its own weight plus some.   

       Here's an interesting quesiton: does grass grow towards light, or up in relation to gravity? There might need to be a way to unroll the hampster wheel and lay it flat when not in use if the grass didn't grow well spending half of its time upside down.
scad mientist, May 07 2003

       bravo half, this is an idea that has certainly: caught the bakery's imagination, prompted healthy debate about an ancilary topic, inspired artisitic impressions, provoked general admiration, and resulted in all around frivolity.
pablopk, May 07 2003

       According to studies done in space, plants grow towards the light.
sartep, May 07 2003

       ...or away from the dark...
silverstormer, May 08 2003

       It's phototropic...
melibean, Aug 15 2003

       Studies show that plants grow towards the light even in space, even up side down. The secret is not putting the plant directly infront of the light but but it off to an angle so the plant has to contort. It will do this reguardless of gravity.
sartep, Aug 16 2003

       Wouldn't the grass become a little flat after a day or two?
phaders, Nov 02 2003

       Use it to walk the dog too. And when fido has to, you know, it just falls off the back. Perhaps into some sort of collecting pan
Mossback74, Nov 02 2003

       A ‘bakery favorite. + again.
Shz, Apr 25 2005

       [pa've]have you read Heinlein's, "Stranger in a Strange Land" one of them had a patch of grass growing in an apartment.
dentworth, Apr 25 2005

       Or the grass bed at the end of the movie Secretary. This would be cool, but pretty tough to pull off. How about turf that looks like grass. IT would at least look better.
miggavin, May 01 2006

Worldgineer, Aug 10 2006


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