Have you ever thought about the wasted power generated in a gym? As the fitness industry is booming, the power needed to power gyms and those wasted from the equipment is ever-increasing. We want to explore the possibility of converting the power generated by exercise equipment into something useful. The current market gap is in resistance machines and attachments to existing gym equipment.
What it does
Generates Power through the vertical motions of the strength training machine, specifically the lateral pulldown machine, as it is the most efficient resistance training machine.
How I built it
Our primary focus was building a human centered prototype of a power generating exercise machine. Our project consists of a lat pulldown machine with a generator attached to generate power. This can be used to power devices while exercising. The person simply has to place the phone down on the wireless charging station and continue his workout as desired while the phone charges. An aluminium frame was used to simulate a lat pulldown machine. There 5 key elements in our project: Vertical gears, gear box, generator, voltage regulator, wireless charger. The gearbox engages with the vertical gear clamped to the weights of the cable workout machine This gearbox transfers the rotational motion to the generator based on a specific gear ratio The power generated from the generator is fed to regulator which regulates the output to stay under 5 V so as to not damage the phone/load The output from the regulator is fed to a wireless charger which can charge any wireless compatible phone
Challenges I ran into
- Human power is not the most significant source. Is there a way to put the minuscule power production into meaningful use (through quantity, power devices that require very little energy, storage of electricity, very efficient energy conversion, heat/cooling)? We later came to the conclusion that sustainable energy is not about immediate economic paybacks or significant power outputs. It is more about the general direction we are heading as a human kind, about harnessing every but of potentially wasted energy on the world. In comparison to other forms of sustainable energy, solar and wind power, albeit producing significantly more power per unit time as compared to human power, also take around 4-5 years to break even on average. Hence sustainable energy to us is more of a duty than an economic choice.
- Is there a way we can convince gyms to pursue sustainability with little immediate economic outcome?
- Brainstorming the idea of developing a sustainable solution to everyday problems
- A way to harness otherwise wasted power
- Designing the gearbox
- Understanding the type of motor to use
- Designing the simulation for gym equipment
- Clamping all the mechanical parts properly.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
Understanding the engineering behind the generation of power, understanding the use case of such technology, understanding the targeted audience and designing a cheap (under $50) solution that can charge your phone while working out.
What I learned
Ways to harness energy from everyday activities that otherwise goes wasted Be conscious of the resources and spend them wisely.
What's next for Workout Power Generator
The structure of the gearbox could be improved to encapsulate the gear-motor system. The resistance of the generator could be utilized to imitate different weights. Increasing the resistance would increase the amount of force needed to do one repetition, so no physical weights are needed. The system’s adaptability could also be improved to be compatible with other workout machines.