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Alexander Wilke

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Can playground equipment be rigged up to generators/ dynamos to harvest energy that a school could then use?

Imagine a roundabout in a school playground that gets played on for about two hours a day. Underneath the centre could there be a dynamo gathering the electricity and storing it? It could be used to power night lights, or other temporary lighting (such as toilets, hallways etc). Dynamos could be attached to swings too. We could even design playground equipment for this purpose where children have to lift, pull, turn, spin, rotate objects or handles during play.

I'm calling it "Active Electricity". Cheesy tag line; "Harnessing the Energy of Youth"!

Is this a feasible idea? Does anyone want to help make it a reality? What challenges would there be to this being successful?

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  • Feb 19 2012: I like your way of thinking!

    My concern of course would be understanding the gross environmental impact of each process. Little to no electrical devices are designed in wholesome accordance to environmental protection. They may work like magic, but are far from it. All it takes is to consider the mining and refining process, not to mention the exhaustive use of water and energy to create modern electronics:
    http://stuff.mit.edu/afs/athena/course/2/2.813/OldFiles/www/readings/WilliamsMicrochip.pdf

    Further, the whole PlayPump idea sounds great in theory, but perhaps is only that:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/nov/24/africa-charity-water-pumps-roundabouts

    Now, this by no means is meant to be a downer post - just looking to re-shift the focus of an excellent initiative. My counter-question would read something like,

    Considering the huge amount of human labour available on the planet, how might we be able to use simple mechanical processes to convert humans' potential kinetic energy into useful functions (i.e. twenty stationary bicycles connected to the well-meaning PlayPump's axle)?

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