Science: Energy: Bioenergy: Human
Power Post   (+3)  [vote for, against]
On the sidewalk, or elsewhere

Inspired by [roby] (link below), in turn inspired by [UnaBubba].

[Roby]'s idea for People-Power Pumps struck me as a good way to get people waiting for something to have a hand in powering their city - but then I realized that we're not always waiting, but often also moving.

The Power Post would be a metal pole stuck up in the middle of a sidewalk, hallways in office buildings, maybe even your own office. It's a padded post with two paddles (more on busy sidewalks) connected to a dynamo and then into the local power grid. People walking by simply give the paddle a push, which generates a smidgen of electricity. By virtue of mass action, this would create a large influx of electricity into the power grid.

A ratchet action would allow this to only need one set of gearings. People walking and pushing in one direction generate power, people in the other do not. A set of bidirectional teeth on the drive creates the illusion of clicking in either spun direction, so people who don't generate power by virtue of going the wrong way don't know it, and therefore are subconsciously encouraged to keep pushing these paddles.

A small capacitor in the device would power the occasional misting of alcohol over the paddles so that they don't become bearers of disease.

This could be adapted to cats and dogs, by placing a toothed comb on the paddles, so even Fluffy and Fido reduce energy bills.

These could be placed in children's playgrounds, and have a music box attached. By pushing, kids get to hear music. Multiple music boxes could be attached (An adult could raise and lower a tune off of the post) so that kids don't get sick of Pop! Goes the Weasel.
-- shapu, Jan 30 2006

Roby's idea People_20Power_20Pumps
[shapu, Jan 30 2006]

railway turnstile generator
[strange606, Aug 04 2006]

Or just put a spring and a dynamo under every paving stone, and grab some energy from each passing footstep.
-- DrCurry, Jan 30 2006

I thought about that, actually, but figured these would be easier.

Plus, these are more "active," so I figured people would be more likely to notice that they're doing it (or not doing it).
-- shapu, Jan 30 2006

Alternatively, you could attach a small generator to every (un-powered) door in a building - a small amount of power every time someone comes thru'.

Although I do like [DrCurry]'s power-generating footpath concept.
-- neutrinos_shadow, Jan 31 2006

Look what just got baked! [link]
-- strange606, Aug 04 2006

Well, nuts. Just read [strange606]'s anno.

There goes my patent fee. I mean, not that I'd pay it anyway, but there goes my incentive to think about possibly patenting something like this in the near, distant, or unforseeable future.
-- shapu, Oct 18 2006

random, halfbakery