“Crowd Farm” Potential New Way To Harness Human Energy

August 6, 2007

The August long weekend in Canada is traditionally the last long weekend of summer to be spent camping.  Even though the weather tends to be fairly nice during the September long, for Canadians the mood has changed and we feel winter’s fury approaching.  That is why I’ve been camping this weekend and things have been pretty quiet.

Coming home this evening and going through my emails and feed reader brought to an extremely interesting, though possibly impractical on a large scale, example of sustainable urban design.

 Two grad students at MIT, James Graham and Thaddeus Jusczyk, both M. Arch candidates have come up with an interesting way of converting mechanical energy to electrical energy.  Called the “Crowd Farm“, the pair have developed a system of subflooring consisting of blocks that depress slightly under the pressure of human footsteps and by slipping against one another, generate power through the principle of the dynamo, a device that converts the energy of motion into that of an electric current.  This could, they believe, effectively utilize human movement in creating renewable energy.


Thaddeus Jusczyk and James Graham

Although similar flooring systems have been developed already, the students believe that the “Crowd Farm” can potentially “redefine urban space by adding a sense of fluidity and encouraging people to activate spaces with their movement”.


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