Generating Gym

October 22nd, 2014:

As someone who exercises regularly, I often wonder how much energy could be created by all the workouts being done.  It reminds me about something I read long ago about splitting wood., the title of the chapter was called “Warming Yourself Twice”.  I have always remembered that line and enjoyed the idea of getting warmth from the heat of  your body during the act of splitting the wood and the fact that the split wood can be burned later as fuel for a fire, two birds one stone so to speak.  This may not be really green but who doesn’t enjoy relaxing by a warm fire you created by cutting your own wood (especially with winter coming)?

The model of creating energy with exercise is similar. There are a lot of companies and gyms out there now that are now looking into this new technology, but all these systems are based on cardio type machines i.e. treadmills, bikes and ellipticals.  Although cardio is good for you, and generally easier to adapt to our power generation, I wonder how we can apply the 'Warming Yourself Twice' theory to the strength exercises that are also done in the gym.  A significant amount of work goes into  core exercises like squats, deadlifts and bench presses.  Unlike cardio, which utilizes a small force for a long period, core exercises have large forces over short time frames.  I would imagine creating a system that could convert this work to into energy would still supply a great work out but also give ample amounts of energy.  If both core and cardio energy methods could be developed it would have the potential to significantly change the current workout paradigm, motivating people around the world into exercising for a cause and they would receive positive reinforcement with visible rewards both physically and electrically.  These systems might also have the potential to change the rates of obesity, health diseases, and other problems accredited to not working out consistently.  

Right now there are a lot of challenges to make human power generation practical. Below I've posted links to companies and individuals interested in this medium of energy collection.  My hope is that eventually this form of energy cultivation will become common place in gyms, homes, and develop into an everyday item motivating people to be energy efficient/ green and more physically fit at the same time. With all the energy put into working out in gyms and homes, why not warm yourself twice or at least power your toaster?

http://www.thegreenmicrogym.com/the-story-of-the-upcycle-eco-charger/

http://content.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,2032281,00.html

http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/27/world/europe/gym-workout-watts-electricity/

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/12/04/3021621/gym-converts-workout-energy-electricity/

http://spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech/conservation/these-exercise-machines-turn-your-sweat-into-electricity

- Principal Mechanical Engineer Phil Bussone, Goddard Inc.

Photo Accredited to: McKibillo