Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Crowd Farm

Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Years: 2007-present
Founders: James Graham and Thaddeus Jusczyk


The Crowd Farm, as envisioned by James Graham and Thaddeus Jusczyk, is a plan to harness energy from human movement in crowded areas; such as subway platforms or sports stadiums. Primarily, it looks to turn the mechanical energy of people moving about into electrical energy. This innovative idea has gained a lot of attention and this year their proposal took first place in the Japan-based Holcim Foundation’s Sustainable Construction competition.

The system itself would work as follows: In a heavily trafficked space, a responsive sub-flooring system made up of blocks that depress slightly under the force of human steps would be installed. “The slippage of the blocks against one another as people walked would generate power through the principle of the dynamo, a device that converts the energy of motion into that of an electric current.”

According to Graham and Jusczyk, a single step provides enough energy to light a lightbulb for one second and 28527 steps (as could be easily found at a professional sporting event) can power a moving train for one second. The Crowd Farm is still being experimented with, but Graham and Jusczyk hope to get this new building system off the ground soon.

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