What if your jogging routine not only provided you with healthy exercise, but could also power your city? That’s the idea behind designer Nadim Inaty’s Green Wheel concept (which we learned about via Yanko Design), an exercise machine that converts the kinetic energy of human motion into electricity. Several Green Wheels would be connected to a central energy storage unit, and the electricity gathered there would be used to power street and traffic lights. Inaty imagines that Green Wheels would be installed in public places like parks, rather than used as private exercise machines, providing joggers with a place to run and providing the city with power.
The Green Wheel looks, almost comically, like a human-sized hamster wheel. Don’t worry about being stuck in a tunnel, though; the wheel itself is made of clear polycarbonate to offer the runner inside an unobstructed view of the surroundings. A set of safety handles lifts to allow runners in and out, and stops any motion the wheel might make during this time to ensure a safe entry and exit. Under the wheel, steel rods encased in rubber transfer the kinetic energy to the dynamo through a gear.
The Wheel is also designed to blend in with its surroundings, with grass surrounding the unit, and an attached bench imagined as a gathering place for runners.
A half-hour jog in the Wheel is expected to produce 120 watts of power, which is enough to power a CFL bulb for 5 hours, charge a cell phone about 12 times, and run a laptop for 2 hours. Inaty hopes that the Green Wheel concept might one day actually be reality, and that with all the runners donating energy to the city, that considerable amounts of power will be generated.