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Martin Buuri Kaburia

Awesome invention

The Disaster Guy

I would like some details on how much power the human power plant produces with the different input mechanisms described, and with different numbers of people participating. Could results be described in wattage, amperage, voltage produced, or in horsepower? A power plant that produces no power is just an exercise machine. Thank you!

kris de decker

@ The Disaster Guy

That's the next step. Until now, the challenge was to make it work.


I just came across this article not long after hearing on the radio how Irish women in sedentary computer jobs snack the equivalent of an extra 50 days'-worth of calories each year through boredom - cakes brought into work, fatty and sugary coffee drinks, soft drinks, doughnuts, muffins, crisps, biscuits etc.

I said to my wife, what's needed is a machine that will dispense these goods only after the equivalent in calories has been expended.

So what about that: you put your money in a vending machine, start pedalling (or whatever) with the energy going into a storage device or the grid and then the requested item pops out once you've worked hard enough.

I don't think it's too stupid an idea, though it may take a long time to get your Mars Bar. Maybe a machine you pedal at your desk, linked to the vending machine?


Funny project. A bit of cosmetic, maybe to make it sexier.

So.Waste energy to built a machine to collect energy from under employed energy people... Well. Isn't a bit weird to you?
I cant help but feel that like an attempt to hide a wrong way of living.
Something filthy.

Frederick Weihe

Cute... but I would need to hear why this isn't just a clever distraction from the real cultural and technological issues of our time.

The whole point of industrialism is the huge energy-density of fossil carbon, and the tremendous power output of machines that use it. An ordinary kitchen mixer has the same power output--a few hundred watts--as a normal human body making a strenuous effort. A workshop air compressor or chainsaw or lawn mover is the power-equivalent of a group of olympic athletes working together. And a few hundred watts cost, currently, only pennies per hour. There is a logic within the current cultural and economic system, according to which it makes sense for people to sit and plan, and machines to do nearly all hard mechanical work. It is not about fitness or sugar drinks.

How is this large art installation (that's what it is, no?) different than telling people they could use a push-mower instead of a gas or electric one on their lawns, bike instead of drive, or that they could use an old-fashioned saw instead of an power saw, or wash their clothes by hand? There's a reason people use machines. There's a reason that things are the way they are, which this project doesn't seem to address.

Being a provocative art project is fine, by the way! Hopefully it raises awareness and makes people think.

Has anyone done an embodied carbon calculation? Do you know how long such a structure would have to be used to repay its carbon debt? Such a calculation would have to include the nutrition source, since conventional food production uses about ten units of (fossil carbon) energy per unit of nutritional energy, and the human body is not a particularly efficient converter of chemical to mechanical energy.


@Frederick Weihe. In one sense you are correct, but it seems you neglected the premise: "These days, we have automated and motorised even the smallest physical efforts. At the same time, we go to the gym to keep in shape, generating energy that's wasted." If people are exercising anyway, why not turn all those gym exercise machines into something that at least produces something.

The unfortunate thing about this plan in my opinion is that it doesn't appear to give people the option to increase/decrease their load - which is a requirement of gym equipment.

Damian Pound

Have a gearing system or CVT* to increase/decrease effort needed to perform a rep, maybe have it automatically change gear ratios between sets to accommodate pressure changes.
*Continuously Variable Transmission

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