We all know how important regular exercise is to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but with the demands of life, it can be hard to fit it in. Students at MIT want to help you fit that exercise in AND work (or blog, chat, catch up on news, etc.) at the same time, so they came up with an exercise bicycle that can power a notebook computer as you pedal. It’ll get you exercising, working, and saving energy, all at the same time! As the instructions on the bike note: “If you have trouble squeezing in that daily exercise, you can now multitask with no problem — bike while you work!”
According to MIT, someone using this bike should be able to produce 75 watts continuously. Most laptops require a continuous 30 watts to be fully powered, so it should be fairly easy for anybody to work and exercise, all at the same time. One of the team members that designed the bike was able to “easily” generate 50 watts which was more than enough to power the computer.
I’m sure at this point you’re curious how it all works, so here’s the explanation:
After many hours in the lab, the students coupled a laptop donated by Dell to a much-altered exercise bike. In their design, the motion of the wheel is conveyed through a flywheel, belt and gears to a generator in the back, which charges a conventional 12-volt battery like that in a car. A charge controller regulates the electricity coming to the battery to prevent overcharging. With the aid of a 12-volt cigarette-lighter adaptor, the battery supplies electricity to the laptop, which rests on a tray atop a swiveling arm in place of the handlebars.
Anybody interested in burning your own calories to power the computer that you probably already spend too much time on? :) Another interesting take on this would simply be to create an exercise bike with a tray for your laptop. Sure it’s great to save some energy, but a typical exercise bike with a mount for a laptop would be easier to produce and would cost less meaning it would be available to more consumers.