Meatricity

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Meatricity
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Meatricity is the electricity generated by the muscle power of humans or other animals. After a great day working on project ideas for Alternative Energy module in next summer’s Learn 2 Teach / Teach 2 Learn program at the South End Technology Center, I drove by a huge workout gym sort of filled with beautiful people transferring energy.

The idea of using people and animals to generate electricity is nothing new. Hand cranked or shaken flashlights are pretty popular, there are even examples of bicycle powered generators to illuminate holiday decorations. In Make 5, the Made on Earth column features a project where a person’s backpack generates electricity as the wearer moves around. The Rodent Powered Night Light is an excellent example of the pet power version of Meatricity.

Certainly westerners have a much larger appetite for using power than they have desire to generate it, but many of our devices now have small rechargeable batteries that could be reloaded by having a passive or active generation scheme available.

So how about it? Could we as a culture generate more of our electricity from the muscle we carry around? What kinds of benefits would meatricity provide to us and our kids? How would exercise equipment need to be redesigned to capture the energy of the user? Could we see it as morally superior to use Meatricity than power generated from burning fossil fuels? Add your ideas in the comments, and contribute your photos and videos to the Make Flickr pool.

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Making things is the best way to learn about our world.

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