Best. Idea. Ever.

Posted: March 5, 2011 in community affairs, current events, just for fun

This was the order of events:

  1. My estimable colleague Larry and I were immersed in one of our many interesting conversations when he mentioned his son’s former San Antonio apartment having a box on the wall. This box was approximately 80 years old. It took him a while to figure out what the box was.
  2. I reminisced about, then actually popped into the DVD player, Mary Poppins. Remember watching Mary Poppins as a kid? (You should, because you led a depraved childhood if not.)
  3. I witnessed that the old-fashioned telephone was in a box. Simultaneously, I observed the hand-crank powering it.
  4. This morning, Plinky delivered a “prompt” to my inbox: “Would you like to dance?” it asked.
  5. I figured I’d kinda like to dance. I also suddenly recalled reading about an off-the-grid dance club that powers itself by using the dance floor as a huge generator, channeling the dancers’ energy to create electricity.
  6. I thought to myself about how the hand-crank telephone concept had morphed and re-emerged on the dance floor…
  7. And wondered why we didn’t do this more often???

After looking into it, I discovered one can actually purchase exercise equipment, mostly of the stationary bike nature, capable of acting like generators, potentially powering the host gym directly, and also able to charge a battery of some sort.

Holy singing fish! I’d love to get in on that patent! Seriously, though, it is glaringly clear we became so over-indulged and deluded by convenience during the twentieth century that one of the simplest, most obvious and sustainable concepts was lost to us when it could best have been incorporated: Harnessing the energy we were already spending to power our machines. Novelty aside, this is a fantastic idea we should never have divorced ourselves from – especially not in favor of burning organic stuff at remote locations.Come on, America! Move it, grassroots-style! This is the best idea no one is talking about. Gyms, obviously, should be powered this way. But, duh, so should everything else! For people like me, who have trouble concentrating and hate sitting still for long periods of time, I KNOW my office productivity would be greatly enhanced if I had some pedals to push as I sat deskbound. (And my coworkers would probably appreciate a break from the pushing of their buttons…) It need not be a high-tech elliptical, or even that fancy a contraption at all: Just an inconspicuous under-the-desk foot crank would be fine. Moreover, I wouldn’t feel as great an urge to spend hours on the treadmill after work if I wasn’t merely plopped immobile on my rear all day. I foresee additional benefits as well, including a decline in irrelevant (and irreverent) daydreams, naps, and various other creative forms of procrastination.

If we’re fat because we don’t move enough, but our modern jobs and technology have left us with nowhere to go, why on this significantly-less-green-than-desirable planet would we keep on burning up our finite natural resources while wasting all that potential energy trapped in our expansive potbellies? We’d be happier, we’d be healthier; we and our Earth would live longer together.

Think about what the Wii has done for video games. Kids big and little have ventured forth from the comfort of the couch and discovered joy in motion. Why doesn’t the Wii power itself, I ask? Now take it one step further and imagine this: The television requiring power by movement at all times! Ah hah! Wanna watch Jersey Shore? Well then keep on pedaling cause the show stops when you stop! If we cannot separate ourselves from our modern toys, isn’t it at least ideal for them to require our work to work? Technology needn’t be effortless to be appreciable.

It is estimated an average person generates about 100 watts of power during an hour of sweating. A seasoned spinner might pump out 400 watts. Think about it.

Comments
  1. You stop pedaling, your fave tv show stops… I think there’s a cartoon in there somewhere. Also a solution to the Obesity Crisis… : )

    Don’t know where you found that picture of my mom and kid sister, but yup, that’s why our orange juice always had lotsa pulp. And seeds… : (

    Fun post, thought-provoking, too– thanks! (And I hope I don’t embarrass myself by exclaiming “Holy singing fish!” the next time I get excited.)

  2. Alan Seale says:

    I have actually wondered about this many times myself!!! I’ve wondered why don’t gyms use cardio equipment for this, but you’re right, other things could transfer our energy as well! But I don’t have the power, influence, knowledge, or money to make the equipment or own a gym so I just hope that somebody with those attributes will make this a reality some day!

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