Pallets On Rails

pallets on rails

Tomáš Moravec modified a standard pallet to ride it on the tram tracks of Bratislava in Slovakia. Nothing beats the efficiency of a human powered vehicle on rails. Previously: Handcarts on rails. Thanks to Adriana Parra & Alice Prouvé.

 

Foot Powered Sieve and Bandsaw

The Archanes Project, a natural building collective from Greece, shows two interesting designs for foot-powered machines: a sieve and a bandsaw. 

“When George Chiletzakis told us that he wants to make a bandsaw, that will operate without electric power, at the beginning we all laughed. It seemed that this gave him bigger strength and inspiration to show us that he who laughs last, laughs best.”

Human Powered Pile Hammer

Check out this video of a human powered pile hammer in Thailand. Thanks to Arne.

Pedal Powered Electronic Waste Recycling Machine

Bicyclean recycling electronic waste“The bicyclean is a safe, affordable, and efficient alternative for
harvesting electronic waste in developing regions. The bicyclean is a modified bicycle, where a processing chamber replaces the rear wheel and an external steel frame supports the rear hub. Processing of the circuit boards occurs within the sealed chamber and the particles are removed in a covered tray. A feed tube presses circuit board pieces into a large grinding wheel and become pulverized.”

“The particles pass a magnet that extracts ferrous metal particles. The particles then flow over a small eddy current rotor, which is positioned underneath the grinding wheel and powered by a 3:1 gear ratio with the bicycle chain. The changing magnetic fields of the eddy current rotor repulse conducting metal, but have no effect on non-metals; the metal particles are projected horizontally while the nonmetals fall vertically, separating particles in the bottom collection tray. The bicyclean requires a single operator.”

Read more: Bicyclean. Via Co.EXIST.

Human Powered Washer & Spin Dryer

Giradora foot powered washer dryerThe GiraDora is an interesting design for a foot powered washer and dryer that costs less than $40. More here:

“GiraDora is a blue bucket that conceals a spinning mechanism that washes clothes and then partially dries them. It’s operated by a foot pedal, while the user sits on the lid to stabilize the rapidly churning contents. Sitting alleviates lower-back pain associated with hand-washing clothes, and frees up the washer to pursue other tasks. It’s portable, so it can be placed nearby a water source, or even inside on a rainy day. It reduces health risks like joint problems, skin irritation, and mold inhalation. Most importantly, it uses far less water and cleans clothes faster than conventional hand-washing.”

Hat tip to Kaan Ozdurak.

Chinese Wheelbarrow Lives on in Angola, Africa

Chinese wheelbarrow in africqThe ingenious Chinese wheelbarrow lives on in Angola, Africa. The contemporary design is similar to the Ancient Chinese vehicle, except it uses straight boards and a car tyre.

The machine and the men pushing it are both called “roboteiros”.

Picture credit.

More pictures: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12.

Thanks to Marco Cecilio.

Pedal Powered Wool Carding Machine

Wolkaarder Cyclocarder

The Cyclocarder by Fibershed-contributor Katharina Jolda is a wonderful update to the article on pedal powered machines. The Cyclocarder can turn your backyard, community center, or farm into a human powered wool processing station.

When Low-Tech Goes IKEA

Pedal powered machine manual 1 What happens when two industrial design students from Sweden end up in Kenya creating a pedal powered machine for small-scale farmers who are often illiterate and speak more than 60 languages? You get a do-it-yourself design that seems to have come out of the IKEA factories – pictoral manuals included.

“Made in Kenya”, the bachelor project of Niklas Kull and Gabriella Rubin, is a textbook example of low-tech made accessible to everybody, regardless of their native tongue and language skills.

[Read more...]

Barge Haulers on the Volga (1870-1873)

Barge haulers on the volga

Barge haulers on the Volga“, a late 19th century painting by Ilja Repin.

Human Power Empirically Explored

Knijpkat “Harvesting energy from the users’ muscular power to convert this into electricity is a relatively unknown way to power consumer products. It nevertheless offers surprising opportunities for product designers; human-powered products function independently from regular power infrastructure, are convenient and can be environmentally and economically beneficial.”

“This work provides insight into the knowledge required to design human-powered energy systems in consumer products from a scientific perspective. It shows the developments of human-powered products from the first introduction of the BayGen Freeplay radio in 1995 till current products and provides an overview and analysis of 211 human-powered products currently on the market.”

“Although human power is generally perceived as beneficial for the environment, this thesis shows that achieving environmental benefit is only feasible when the environmental impact of additional materials in the energy conversion system is well balanced with the energy demands of the products functionality.”

Human Power Empirically Explored” (PDF, 12MB), Arjen Jansen, 2011.