Crowd Farm

Crowd Farm, developed by two MIT architecture grad students, is a concept that harvests the energy that is transmitted through our feet. It works like this: Beneath highly crowded subway platforms there would be a sub-flooring system made up of blocks that depress slightly due to the force of human footsteps above. These blocks rub together under the pressure generating power the same way as a dynamo, a device that converts energy from motion into an electric current.
This is a concept that is only worth its weight in gold in highly crowded ares where the feet are many since one human footstep can generate enough power for two 60-watt light bulbs for only a mere second. But get a coffee-primed crowd moving by the masses and the Farm could be in business. The typical New York subway train in Manhattan at rush hour will typically have 300 people in it, all of whom ran an average of 150 steps in the station to get onboard. That is equivalent to 45,000 steps every few minutes, which could be transferred to power the subway train. This is a brillant idea for reclycling the energy from human movement.

4 responses

  1. Keep in mind that you can’t get something from nothing. By harvesting energy from the footstep of pedestrians you are causing them to expend more energy which must be replaced with food calories. Since far more fossil fuel energy goes into any food product than food energy comes out it is probably more efficient to just use that fossil fuel energy to make electricity. But if you happen to live in a overfed society where everyone consumers 1.5 x the daily calories that they actually need, then this would be a welcome bit of extra exercise…

  2. I love this concept, but let’s be honest – it’s pure novelty. There’s no way the energy put into building it would ever recoup what’s generated. This is just for fun.

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