Walk it off | Mark’s Remarks

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marksKinetic energy is something we learned about in science class. Remember? When you walk across the floor, that’s what you get.

I was amazed when I saw a report last week on kinetic energy “harvesting.” A company is trying to figure out a way to store the energy we produce when we walk. No foolin’.

How are they doing it? They are placing special floor tiles in buildings. These floor tiles are rigged up in a way that stores the kinetic energy. The energy produced is then used to keep the lights burning. Hard to believe, but it’s being done.

As with anything new like this, it’s all very expensive. The places these floor tiles are being used have funding, of course.

But, the research continues and the possibilities are endless.

We are always hearing about folks trying to come up with alternative ways to provide energy.

I guess the person who came up with this particular idea had (literally) a “light bulb moment.” Har-de-har-har.

Right now, it takes a few hundred steps to power lights for a few minutes. The technology
is being used in places with high foot traffic like busy train stations or schools. I suppose the technology will eventually be used to power other things besides electric lights. Wow.

Remember when things like calculators, microwaves and VCRs (what are those?) were so expensive? Someday, this technology will be affordable, too.

Allow yourself to ponder the possibilities for a while. Your electric bill changes drastically as all of your “running around” is converted into energy for your house. You vacuum your house with the energy stored from…well, vacuuming your house.

As usual, I try to make up funny scenarios, too. Can you image the shopkeeper in the mall experiencing a temporary power outage? He walks out into the middle of the mall and hollers at the mall walkers to take another lap or two. Maybe he offers them a free sample or something for their trouble.

You let your kids have a party in the basement and you encourage dancing, relay races, scavenger hunts, limbo contests, roller skating and any other kinetic energy producing activity you can think of. The party lasts for hours. Your electricity is free for a month.

Punishment for your children could be creative, too. “I sentence you to 450 laps around the kitchen floor.” You could hide money in your house and send the kids looking for it. A new exercise program could involve running up and down the basement stairs. You could have Olympic style competitions, all of them involving some sort of walking or running, at your house. Invite the whole neighborhood.

Have reunions at your house. Rent your house out for large parties and take away all the chairs.

I got a million of them. It’s said that some folks walk upwards of 40,000 steps a day.

Imagine. We could actually power entire cities someday.

Really? I feel almost a bit crazed thinking of the possibilities.

Is it being done yet? Yes.

The technology is being used in Rio de Janeiro. There, kinetic tiles have been installed next to solar panels. This “marriage” of energy sources is being used in one neighborhood of this large city.

Apparently, areas of Rio have been plagued by periodic black outs, and in this particular neighborhood, a problem that was once a real pain in the neck is now being erased due to solar and kinetic energy.

Wonder if it will become the norm in our lifetime? We can only imagine, can’t we? It’s fun to think about it.

“Kids! Hurry up and run around the living room for a while. The lights are beginning to flicker and ‘Wheel of Fortune’ is coming on!

I crack myself up sometimes.

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