Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wow, things are backwards

I was driving in the car yesterday listening to the radio and there was a story about obesity becoming a problem in Iraq.  It seems that as a result of the violence there, a large number of Iraqi citizens choose to leave their houses only when necessary and as a result have become quite sedentary.  Add to this the ability to have TV in there houses and the picture gets much worse.

The reporter at one point asked the local correspondent whether people would consider having a tread mill or exercise bike in their houses.  While I expected to hear the answer that this is not foremost on most Iraqis minds right now, what he said was that there are some who would like this, but since intermittent power is a problem, treadmills don't work most of the time.

Now i know there are bigger issues in Iraq right now, but how backwards is this?  You have a group of people who need, among other things, electricity and exercise right?  Why not reverse engineer some of those treadmills and have them charge batteries that can be used later when power is needed?  I know it's not that simple, but on the flip side, maybe it is.



David said...

This website is selling a 12V charger powered by petal with feet or hands.
The site sells it with the title "Charger Doubles as a Flashlight, Triples as an Exercise Machine".


Dave said...

Very cool. So maybe it is that simple. Now to just get the price down a bit. Thanks for posting.

Consume Less, Conserve More!!!!


Anonymous said...

Dave, you know I love you, but seriously... exercise machines that double as chargers? In a war zone? I'm trying to imagine the UPS guy driving up with their packages...

And without being glib, this is probably closer to the sustainability model that you and I always talk about. I bet there is very little wasted in these areas, and very little consumed. Not a great way to be forced to conserve, but I suspect that it's the only way most of us will... only when presented with no other options.

Anonymous said...

I've looked into this silly problem many times. It is backward. How many people are driving their cars to the gym, and paying for gas to get there, and paying a gym membership, to ride a stationary bicycle??

I finally go tout of this nonsense loop myself, got rid of my car, got rid of my gym membership and am saving about $650 per month because of it! Such a simple solution, but when you're raised in a car-society, sometimes it's hard to re-think some basic things.

There are links all over the web about human-powered TVs, computers, cell phone chargers, etc. You can make a kit yourself with a little bit of handy-man skills. Lookup "human powered" or "pedal powered" and add whatever appliance you fancy!

Imagine if 300 million people (US population) were all drawing just a little less power from the grid.... big difference!

Dave said...

I did say i know there are bigger problems in Iraq, but the ridicuoulsness of it all just hit me.

Adn yes, you're probably right, it's probably a scarily efficient sustainability model, but one that i hope we get to in happier ways.


Unknown said...

"but since intermittent power is a problem, treadmills don't work most of the time."

Since when did you need a powered treadmill? Despite the feasibility of getting them treadmills in the first place, how could they not have heard of a regular treadmill? If anything, it would be much, much cheaper.

Anonymous said...

It probably is easy to reverse engineer a treadmill. When voltage is applied across the leads of a motor it turns. When a motor is turned it generates a voltage difference across its leads. It will generate AC voltage, but it is easy to convert AC to DC. The only problem might be in some of the gear workings (but one could work around that). It would best to have the track on an incline, because it is somewhat awkward trying to get a stationary treadmill to move when it is level.