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The Wave of the Future!
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Take the gear and sprocket assembly from a mountain bike, remove the cranks and shorten the chain until you can lay the thing down horizontally and fit it into a sturdy metal housing the size and shape of a cigar box. Instead of cranks, attach 2 mechanisms that function like the pull-start of a lawn mower so that pulling on either or both cords applies an amount of torque to the sprocket that varied according to what gear it was in. Attach a generator to the sprocket so the faster it turned the more power was generated. Attach the output of the generator to a battery so the electricity generated was used to charge the battery. Attach the output of the battery to a retractable power cord that would stick out of the side of the device. Choose the appropriate interchangeable adapter and attach it to the tip of the retractable power chord.

To use, set the gear to whatever is most comfortable for you, then grab the handles of the pull chords and manually start pulling them away from each other in a repetitive stretching motion. A gauge on the side displays how full the battery is. When the battery reaches the desired level, pull out the retractable power chord and plug it into whatever device you need to charge: cell phone, iPod, GPS, digital camera, etc., and the device will behave just like it does when you plug it into any other charger. Voila! You’ve just used the Biokinetic Charge Holding Universal Device (BioCHUD).

Now I know what you’re probably thinking at this point, and the answer is no, I wouldn’t be opposed to calling it something other than BioCHUD, I just came up with that name because it makes me laugh. That’s not the point though. The point is that I think this thing would be pretty damned useful. It would make an excellent emergency backup for times when the power is out, or you’re out camping in the wilderness, or you just happened to forget to charge your phone or camera or whatever. BioCHUD would provide a potentially limitless source of electricity so you would never have to be without power for your personal devices. Also, BioCHUD is the ultimate source of ‘green’ electricity. There are no by-products, harmful or otherwise, and not only is the source of the energy non-polluting, but it’s the only energy source who’s operation is actually GOOD for you. Conservationists, environmentalists, and physical fitness buffs could all be content in knowing that their daily morning exercises not only kept them physically fit, but also provided all the perfectly clean energy they needed to power their personal devices.

Ideally, the BioCHUD would integrate with another invention idea I had that’s kind of like a personal energy network so all your devices would intelligently share their power as if it all came from a single battery. If you then attached these personal energy networks into a sort of energy internet, then you could create a sort of digital energy based currency. Power could be routed to your personal network wirelessly if you needed it and you would be charged according to your personal energy deficit each month. If you worked out all the time and had an energy surplus, you’d get the value of the surplus credited to your account. Each supplier and/or consumer of energy would have a unique address on the network like IP addresses on the world wide web. Energy would be transfered to wherever it was needed like packets on the internet, and would be tagged with various information like IP packets as well. An adjustable tax system would apply a tax rate to energy suppliers based on how much it costs to offset the environmental impact that creating the energy had. Really dirty methods, either in their production or consumption, would be heavily taxed and very expensive, while totally clean sources like the BioCHUD would be the most valuable since it would have no tax applied to it.

The end result of the BioCHUD/energy internet combination would be to encourage exercise and conservation; while simultaneously providing potentially huge financial incentives to people who come up with innovative new sources of clean and renewable energy.

Now I’m well aware that the energy internet is, at the moment at least, science fiction. Nevertheless, it won’t be too long before we have the ability to implement it. The BioCHUD however, could probably be made into a working prototype right now by somebody tinkering in their garage. I’d buy one, if they were reasonably priced, and I think whoever sold them could make a killing.

So if there are any engineers out there who are in the know with regards to how efficient a BioCHUD would be, or could give rough estimates on how many pound/feet of force it would take to us a BioCHUD to charge a typical device for a given amount of time, feel free to chime in either here or on my blog at jneuhaus.wordpress.com

vykyng, Jun 14 2008

Proposed OLPC Generator http://www.olpcnews...pc_xo_products.html
[MisterQED, Jun 15 2008]

Potenco Pull Charger http://www.potenco.com/products/
Follow the link above and you get to Potenco's site for the charger [MisterQED, Jun 15 2008]

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       I'd like the option to charge a phone directly -- if it's "an emergency" (with no spare phone battery). And the option of a foot pedal to charge the CHUD, so my hands are free. Anyway, after doing a couple of hours of a CHUD chest-pull exercise, it may be tough to hold that digital camera steady.   

       I have a universal USB power battery for trips, packed fully charged, of course. On ordinary house current, it takes at least 3 hours to charge it. Is that about right for the mechanical charger in the idea?
Amos Kito, Jun 14 2008

       I am having a hard time imagining a mechanical interface that would be worse than //mechanisms that function like the pull-start of a lawn mower// to get your power in. Why'd you choose that? I mean, take your lawn mower, pull off the spark plug wire, and just crank it continuously for 1 minute. Don't let it stop, just keep it moving.   

       I think the pedals would have been better.
lurch, Jun 14 2008

       The reason for the pull start handles is their versatility which I didn't quite explain. Hang one handle at head height for instance, put your foot in the other handle and you can ladder step like a pedal, or even grab the other handle with both hands and throw your whole weight into a really high gear spin. Or give one handle to another person for a 2-person high gear spin. Basically with handles, any linear movement can be converted into electricity, it all depends on how creative you are setting up the 'exercise'. Another important thing here is the gearing. A really really high gear would translate into proportionately more torque, although now that I think about it, it would be better to have an automatic transmission type system so that the gearing steadily increased as the RPM's did.   

       As for charging, it would work just like a regular car charger, which, in my experience, means even a dead cell phone can be used the second it's plugged into the charger, it just slows the charge time slightly since it's basically pulling the juice straight from the charger, via the battery.
vykyng, Jun 14 2008

       Just a few more quick uses for alternate BioCHUD exercises, some may be a little silly.   

       Use it as a leash when you walk your dog.   

       Use it as a bungie jump or rope swing.   

       Use it as a descending device like, say, from a tree house, or dumb waiter or small elevator.   

       Attach it as a replacement for the spring in those bouncing baby holders.   

       Use the pull cord and a crank attachment in tandem and make a Chud kite string or fishing pole.   

       Mini-Chud with a crank attachment; attach it to your hamster wheel. Hamster power!   

       Super Mini-Chud; attach your key ring and use it as a retractable key thingy that security guards and janitors always have.   

       Make a Chudflex home gym just like a bowflex except all the resistance comes from Chud instead of those rubber things.   

       A Chud-matic door closer replacement for those pneumatic tube things at the top of doors.
vykyng, Jun 14 2008

       Nothing to do with cannibalistic humanoid underground dwellers, then?
lostdog, Jun 14 2008

       This would be especially good way to charge your OLPC laptop and if you go to their website they can give you the description.   

       Sorry baked though it only had one cord.   

       I'll find a link.
MisterQED, Jun 15 2008


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