Imagine you could generate electricity from your hands. You’d be able to power anything you want, with a single touch. What about generating electricity with your feet? Or even your blood?
Is it possible for your body to become a power station? Could humans replace traditional power sources? And how could this help save the planet?
Actually, our bodies constantly conduct electricity, and it all has to do with our atoms. When we send signals through our nervous system, like our brain telling us to click on this video, that’s electricity going from Point A to Point B.
It’s safe to say that without our own, internal electricity, we’d be unable to do anything. But could we ever conduct electricity like this?
Unfortunately, you wouldn’t have lightning bolts coming out of your hands, at least not yet. That’ll be a story for another What If. But you could generate electricity in other ways, and we might not have to do anything different than we’re doing today.
That’s because using humans to generate electricity is already happening. There are modules that turn kinetic energy from people walking or dancing into electricity. The modules can be placed in high traffic areas like airports, malls, and even city streets. The idea is that when you step on the module, it compresses and springs back up, powering a small generator, which then creates power.
Each step on one of these tiles can create up to 20 joules of power. Or, if you’d like to generate electricity while getting your sweat on, you can hop on a special elliptical bike.
A fully sustainable gym in New York has eco-bikes that generate their own power. During a workout, you can create 160-watt hours of electricity, or even more.
Talking about joules and watts is fun, but what does it mean exactly? How many lightbulbs, TVs, and buildings can we power? Well, unfortunately, even with an eco-bike and the steps from one thousand pedestrians, we’d be lucky to power up a single light bulb for more than a couple of hours.
That’s kind of lame, I know, but that’s because a traditional light bulb uses about 100 watts to be powered for a full hour. So at this rate, with us casually producing electricity like this, we’re never going to be able to get rid of traditional electricity.
But what if we could? What would we need to do to power the world with human conducted electricity? For this to happen, we’d need to cover every single road, of every city on Earth, with these energy-producing floors.
In a city like Tokyo, with millions of people walking the streets every day, we’d be able to produce trillions of joules that could be converted to power entire buildings. But walking probably won’t be enough.
We’d also need millions of people solely dedicated to producing electricity full-time. Picture hundreds of thousands of people dancing, and having 24/7 raves, attempting to produce as much electricity as possible. And if that’s not your style, you could bike or run to power your buildings.
This would take millions of people who would need to be paid, and be in good enough shape to dance and workout for hours on end. And even you had that type of energy, doing so for 8 hours a day, five days a week, would take a severe toll on your body.
If all that isn’t enough, we could use our poo to produce electricity. That’s right. Toilets are being developed right now that can convert your bathroom breaks into energy.
They do so by composting your waste and oxidizing it. This releases electrons which get passed through a load-bearing circuit and then generate energy.
Creating electricity like this would seriously help the environment. A lot of traditional electricity burns fossil fuels, which produce greenhouse gases that harm our Earth.
Producing electricity by running and dancing, while adding more wind turbines and solar panels to help us out, would make the world a greener place. The human race could completely generate its own power if we were all dedicated enough.
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- “This gym gets its power from your workout”. Tessa Love, 2018. World Economic Forum. Accessed January 12 2020.
- “5 ways you can use the human body to generate electricity”. 2014. Utility Dive. Accessed January 12 2020.
- “How does the body make electricity — and how does it use it?”. JULIA LAYTONHowstuffworks. Accessed January 12 2020.
- “How the human body uses electricity” Amber Plante, University of Maryland, Baltimore. 2020. Accessed January 12 2020.
- “What is the difference between a watt and a watt-hour”. 2020. enphase.com. Accessed January 12 2020.
- “Energy Floors generate power from your dance moves”. How It Works. Accessed January 12 2020.
- “Advantages Of Solar Energy | Pros And Cons Of Solar Energy”. 2020. RGS Energy. Accessed January 12 2020.