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back to article MIT in pedal-powered 'super' computer stunt

A group of MIT students and staff has used stationary cycles to power a computer, in a feat that was described by one of them as "something that will hopefully lead to maybe solutions for alternative energy, something like that". Ilana Brito, a graduate student in biology, and her nine teammates in the MIT Cycling Club performed …

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Tom
Silver badge

Ignoring the olpc....

Imagine a gaggle of youths who are forced to generate the power for their games consoles themselves!

I dont want maladjusted youths to be fit as well.

And as for “more arithmetic computations than were done on the whole planet up until about 1960.” the US seems hell bent on ignoring the 11 Colossus' (i?) at Bletchly...........

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Coat

This could save the planet

Porn drives every new innovation (video, t'internet, etc) so how about a wrist-activated power generator for PCs?

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Unhappy

Bastards!

Not content with making us sweat buckets programming and debugging the bloody things, we're now expected to pedal them as well?

Sod *that* for a game of soldiers.

"Innovate or die" eh? Hmmm, I wonder what the afterlife's like these days.......

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Seems a bit wasteful

Could have run an eee PC for months on that no doubt. And could have given el Reg another excuse to use that pic...

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Joke

Has MIT lost it?

I remember when they had a good technical reputation. What have we heard from them in the last several months?

-Put windmills by highways and generate an infinitesimal amount of power by the air wake of cars.

-Put springy things under sidewalks, and generate an infinitesimal amount of power by people walking across them.

-Now: Generate an infinitesimal amount of power by people riding stationary bikes connected to alternators.

I mean, these sound like "Monty Python Does Alternative Energy"

How about, ah, nuclear? Works great for France and Japan, and doesn't require people to do anything sillier than mine uranium. Just don't use Soviet contractors to build the fuckers.....

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Unhappy

Carbon trail

The "carbon footprint" of the calories created to fuel the cyclists will be higher than a normal portable generator and far higher than the power supply they normally use.

Joggers are also incredibly evil by the global warming viewpoint, burning massive amounts of carbon to run about, thinking about it , treadmills must drive greens insane with righteous anger.

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Paris Hilton

What the hell?

This is the stupidest idea I've ever heard. This is worse than the Matrix's "human battery" scheme.

I've chosen the Paris Hilton icon, because we're on to her, even though she's using the alias Ilana Brito.

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Anonymous Coward

The amount of

fuel used to feed clothe and house the biological engines make them less efficient than current power sources so what is the point.

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run of the mill bike, exactly

It's a 26" wheel job. Why not a 700c (28") insteead, and they would have had better gearing, so faster speeds. Besides, they're pretty average guys if they can get above 120W/person for cycling. Most athletes will sit at 300watts for a few hours, and Lance Armstrong averaged 400W for 6 or so hours when on the tour de France.

I can get >~250-300W for 15-20 minutes easily

Poor show in all. However, if it gets people off their chairs to power the office computers for part of the day, we might see some fitter, happier people all round (endorphins do wonders).

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Happy

In addition to all the comments above...

Does anyone know the carbon footprint of constructing an aluminum bike complete w/ genset? Considering that aluminum requires quite a bit of energy intensive mining, I suspect that it will take quite some time to break even even if you ignore the carbon cost of the work animal's food.

-daniel

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Boffin

Alternator efficiency

1200W/10 people: 120W each. A normal alternator is about 55% efficient. Allow for some loss in the bicycle and its connection to the alternator and we get 240W each. Not outstanding, but still respectable over 15 minutes.

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Thumb Up

Bike powered things

I actually had a similar idea not too long ago. Get rid of PE in public schools, and instead transform every desk into a power bike that connects to the school's power grid. In order to motivate the students to pedal to power the school, they'll want to in summer for the AC and winter for the heater, and if a student refuses they get a No Grade in whatever classes they don't pedal in. Saves tons of money for the school, AND keeps our children healthy! It's a win-win.

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Pirate

Innovation ?

The British SAS were using hand generators to power their radio transmission equipment during WWII. Some pictures of these generators can be found here: http://souvenirsas.ifrance.com/PgeRadios.htm (Mle WS 48).

This kind of "innovationis really a 60 years step back in time at the very least.

The idea of using bicycle generators to power air conditioning on the

other hand is funny. Since by pedaling on the bikes, one would be releasing

extra heat to be also evacuated by the air conditioning system, one would better consider the amount of heat that the AC will evacuate when receiving a given quantity of electrical power, and whether this amount of heat is higher or lower than the extra heat one will produce to generate said electrical power. Pedaling when the amount of heat that the AC can remove is lower than the heat created by the pedaling will get you a Darwin award.

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Happy

"How about, ah, nuclear?"

Don't be silly, don't you know that the waste from that will GIVE US ALL CANCER FROM A THOUSAND MILES AWAY!

Although oddly, I used to live up near the Dounraey PFR and the levels of leukemia and cancer weren't really any higher than any other area, as I recall.

If there is a problem with nuclear dumping, lets just build a few of those newfangled re-usable shuttles they have been harping on about for a few years, and just dump the stuff in the Sea of Tranquility on the moon - and if anyone has any foresight, they will arrange the dumping grounds in such a manner that in a couple of hundred years there will be a glowing green smiley face such as that which precedes this post for our kids and grandkids to look up to at night.

Surely better than having them cycle four hours a day to run a kettle for one cup of tea, and a much better use of the MIT techies brains than wasting time on headline grabbing, but ultimately pointless PR exercises.

<under breath>

Bunch of fucking morons...which goes for the MIT eejits and and anti-nuclear crowd...

</under breath>

Steven R

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Anonymous Coward

Not a bad idea actually

I've actually thought this to be a pretty good idea in some areas. What's wrong with a rec center being powered by the equipment people use? 40 people riding stationary bikes, and "climbing" stairmasters would at least create enough juice to lighten the bill. What's wrong with that? Nice to see that someone made it work a little bit.

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Anonymous Coward

Power plant waste products, @StevenR

Haha, nailed it, man. The funniest thing, IMO-- people are always so concerned about nuclear power plant waste, which can be put into a can and buried/shot into sun/etc, but they never raise an eyebrow about the amount of carcinogenic smog being pumped out of coal fired plants. If I were an omnipotent master of statistics, I would be fascinated to know the amount of deaths caused by coal power v. nuclear. Even without omniscient perception, I'd wager that coal has killed a shitload more folks, without even counting mining accidents.

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Black Helicopters

Kid-powered schools?

Screw the bikes. Work the little buggers in the coal mines, for a bigger energy return on their labor.

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Black Helicopters

Kid-powered coal mines?

Screw the coal mines. Work the little buggers in the nuclear power plants. We might get some really cool mutant super-villains to make life a little more interesting.

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Boffin

@ "How about, ah, nuclear?"

Why stop at the sea of tranquility? Send it to the sun as fuel for the great glowing overlord :)

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