Crowd farms: Welcome to The Matrix
October 15, 2007
The search for new forms of energy production took an interesting turn with the invention of the “Crowd Farm” by two architecture students at M.I.T. This uses the energy of human movement in urban settings. A small amount of energy from an individual becomes a large amount when combined from enough people, for example 28,527 footsteps could power a train for one second. But what’s the dark side?
The CSMonitor provides a more extensive lookat the context of piezoelectric technology, which is worth the read. However, there are some arguments yet to be marshalled against the acceptence of footfall power.The claim that this doesn’t cost a dime isn’t actually true. The energy that’s going to be taken from your footsteps comes from somewhere. This is your food budget in the first instance, although you might claim it’ll make up for that luxury chocolate cake you had between meals. Beyond that, if your food budget increases, more energy will be required to produce and transport that food.
You might well ask whether someone else should be allowed to use your energy for running trains. Should you give the energy for free? Will you get a rebate on your season ticket? If commercial railways benefit, isn’t this just another example of the way businesses pass their costs to the customers? And if it’s public transport that benefits, it’s just a way to sneakily tax the fat!
Ultimately, it’s just the short end of the electric wedge. Next we’ll all be plugged into The Matrix, our bodies supplied with nutrients, no need to move as our bodies radiate heat to keep the Machine going.
The upside is that we won’t need to commute anymore.