MIT grad students are designing a system to convert the mechanical energy of people movingh around a building into electricity. Designed for a railways system, Tad Jusczyk and James Graham's "Crowd Farm" would consist of sub-floor that moves slightly as people walk across it. That motion would then be converted by a dynamo into current. From the MIT News Office:
The electric current generated by the Crowd Farm could then be used for educational purposes, such as lighting up a sign about energy. "We want people to understand the direct relationship between their movement and the energy produced," says Juscyzk.
The Crowd Farm is not intended for home use. According to Graham and Jusczy, a single human step can only power two 60W light bulbs for one flickering second. But get a crowd in motion, multiply that single step by 28,527 steps, for example, and the result is enough energy to power a moving train for one second.
And while the farm is an urban vision, the dynamo-floor principle can also be applied to capturing energy at places like rock concerts, too. "Greater movement of people could make the music louder," suggests Jurcyzk.
(via Boing Boing)