What a great series from Co.Exist and Fast Company: play grounds, and other structures, that harness the energy of people’s movement. This may be the first time employees are actively encouraged to move around all day.
Kids have boundless energy. What if that energy could be put to some use besides just running around and having a good time. These new jungle gyms convert play to power.
When IBM came up with a list in 2011 of the five technologies it thinks will change the world in five years, kinetic energy–power from people–topped the list. Advancements could come, they say, from developments in devices that might harvest power from your shoes, your exercise, and even the soccer ball you kick. Green gyms are also cropping up. And now the idea has come to playgrounds, where kids’ movement can be harnessed and funneled into powering schools and toys.
This playground–designed by Hyundai engineering and construction–is part jungle gym and part renewable energy science experiment. After climbing a ladder into a laboratory, kids can spin a wheel that will illuminate “Benjamin Franklin’s kite.” An optical illusion will spin at varying speeds as children adjust a solar panel to different angles. Pedaling a bicycle powers a pinwheel and illuminates lights around the structure. Hyundai calls this the “Natural Energy Park” and it looks like a lot of fun.
Mixing fun and helping people, Empower Playgrounds is a non-profit organization that provides electricity-generating
playground equipment to villages in Ghana that are too remote to be on their nation’s electricity grid. The school children gain a playground as well as safe, rechargeable LED lanterns to light their homes so they can do their homework. Additionally, the play equipment doubles as part of a hands-on science lab that brings science concepts into their daily lives
See the whole series here.
For more on the future of playgrounds, check out 8 insane playgrounds, schools, and libraries of the future.
Know of other playful energy producers? Let us know in the comments below!
- Empower Playgrounds Inc. (jumpforjoyphotoproject.wordpress.com)
- Introducing A Green Energy Playground (forcedgreen.com)
- In Future Playgrounds, Kids Create Energy Design News 06.26.12 (apartmenttherapy.com)