Kinetic energy may be difficult to harvest on a large scale basis, and can be unreliable.
However, in places where there is a constant barrage of motion it can be useful.
Take for example, swings or rocking chairs. The way that rockers are designed are ideal for harnessing energy produced from motion and utilizing it.
A clever idea for creating power from movement surfaced in a swing design a few years back. Ryan Klinger designed a glider style seat called Empower that captures energy from the rocking motion. Coming out a 2nd place winner among designs at the Greener Gadgets Conference in 2010, it is a promising idea.
Hinges on the chair or bench swing are connected to a kinetic energy generator and a battery which stores power each time a gliding motion is made. The stockpiled energy can be accessed from the unit through the built in USB ports and outlets. This allows a handy charge for all types of gadgetry, and all without electricity. An efficient LED lighting display tells how much power has been generated. The practically packaged for shipping seating is also prepared from recyclable products.
A design that envelops a stylish, soothing look is the Murakami chair by Rochus Jacob.
The rocking chair has an integrated reading lamp which is powered by the swaying produced when someone rocks. A back up battery pack gathers energy during the daytime for the lamp, which does not have a light bulb. Instead, the entire lampshade is illuminated from the naturally produced energy.
This chair is also a statement piece, as the creator offers the following about the design:
“…a rocking chair that enables the user to experience production and consumption of electricity in a gentle and rewarding way. An abstract process becomes tangible and eventually cultivates natural awareness. Complexity is covered by simplicity… To have a drastic reduction of consumption the big challenge will be to make consuming less feel like getting more.”
Another rocking chair for iPad enthusiasts is from Micasa Lab / Zurich. Their iPad Rocking Chair looks the part of a standard rocker, but makes its own power when activated by movement. It also has a built in dock and sound station.
Fine tuning the configuration, a generator has been incorporated to help convert the movements to energy. The developers claim that the iRock, when rocked in for about an hour, can recharge an iPad 3 to 35% battery power. The chair can also charge other Apple gadgets.
Though still in development, these would be ideal investments for public places, offices, schools, commercial and travel industries – if the prices for the units are reasonable.
Putting motion energy to work in places where there is already movement is an opportunity to reduce consumption and save money. Designs that pair sensible ideas with everyday items are welcome developments.
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