Hamster power to the rescue :
November 7, 2005 8:47 PM   Subscribe

Hamster driven micro Power Plants... the Hamster powered Night Light from the Otherpower.com guys .... also the school project of a London teen ... "Every two minutes Elvis spends on his wheel gives me about 30 minutes talk time on my phone." The teenage inventor was given a C for his project and has been awarded a D overall for the course" Please no Richard Gere jokes OK?
posted by celerystick (17 comments total)
You must be thinking of gerbils, not hamsters.
posted by bingo at 8:51 PM on November 7, 2005

heh, we're on unmetered water here so I've wanted to hook up the water to a microgenerator. Unfortunately, I calculate only ~10W of power is available from the water department...
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 8:53 PM on November 7, 2005

/peers into hamster's cage/

Just you wait, Solzhenitsyn*. Just you wait.

*what? He's a Russian dwarf hamster.

Heh. This is a nifty post that made me smile.
posted by kalimac at 8:55 PM on November 7, 2005

Project deserves at least a B+. That's really cruel.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:02 PM on November 7, 2005

This just in: unfair grades handed out at local school.
posted by odinsdream at 9:11 PM on November 7, 2005

I can't find any citations, but I believe I've read that our most efficient ways of getting power from fossil fuels only extract 25% of the energy (the rest is lost to heat), while the Krebs cycle (what aerobic organisms use) gets 40%. So maybe this kid will delay peak oil by another ten years.
posted by gsteff at 9:25 PM on November 7, 2005

what is the Richard Gere reference? Or should I google "Richard Gere gerbil"?

Tough marking BTW.
posted by wilful at 10:00 PM on November 7, 2005

I've never actually heard the Richard Gere gerbil story. I've just pieced it together from context. I assume I've got it right...

It involves Jimmy Carter, right? And a vat of liquid oxygen?
posted by brundlefly at 10:26 PM on November 7, 2005

kalimac, I had a cat named Apparatchik, so you're in good company.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:28 PM on November 7, 2005

heywood, you could hook it up and only draw power from it when you use water, in this way you could charge a battery bank, and not waste a bunch of water. and i would say you probly have much much more than 10w of power. if you have an average water pressure and you just let it run all the time you might be able to power a large portion of your homes energy needs, you would also be wasting a massive amount of water...
posted by stilgar at 5:10 AM on November 8, 2005

Richard Gere Gerbil story, on Snopes
posted by chrid at 5:53 AM on November 8, 2005

Just you wait, Solzhenitsyn*. Just you wait.

You should get him a little friend/cellmate named Ivan Denisovich.

Just imagine if we harnessed the power of every hamster and Gerbil in every pet store in America! We could run nearly one third of the coffee makers!
posted by Pollomacho at 6:02 AM on November 8, 2005

Heh, I have two rats. While they aren't Russian, they're named Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein.

However, for whatever reason they've never run in any wheel I've ever provided for them. I've tried various wheel configurations, including those plastic balls of doom, but they snub them all. They love running, but only when I let them out to run amok and cause their own particular brand of ratty havoc.

Coming back to the subject at hand:

They need to hook up microgenerators to every single piece of exercise equipment in the world. What a fantastic waste of mechanical energy, heat energy and aerobic activity.

I've always found it disturbing that people will indulge in rich foods or simply overeat, then they'll drive to the local gym, work out very intensely, and then drive home.

Meanwhile the building is being illuminated, cooled or heated with external energy sources. Heck, even many of the newfangled exercise contraptions require external power for monitoring electronics, or even worse, for work resistance or other functions.

Of course using human power in such a situation - or any contemporary situation - isn't going to solve our energy problems. But it could help.

Perhaps some day electrical (or mechanical) energy generation, transmission and storage technology will advance to the point that it's so efficient that health clubs will pay you to come join them and generate power, rather than you paying them to go spend your own energy.
posted by loquacious at 7:06 AM on November 8, 2005

posted by kosem at 8:12 AM on November 8, 2005

loq: what I want is an amplified power-pedal car. I put out 50W at the crank, it makes it 100KW at the drive wheel...

I should patent this.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:16 AM on November 8, 2005

and i would say you probly have much much more than 10w of power.

The formula is: "head" of water x gpm x 0.18 x eff% = W
I went with 20', 10gpm for my numbers...
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:19 AM on November 8, 2005

I agree with what loquacious says. Why not generate some juice from treadmills at the GYM, and other similiar situations. It woulg have to be worked so that people with big egos dont think they are being exploited but in fact adding their energy to the mix Come to think of it this must have been how they powered stuff on GILIGAN'S INSLAND! (remember any of you??)
posted by celerystick at 11:39 AM on November 8, 2005

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