Beirut-based Nadim Inaty designed the Green Wheel – a zany exercise machine concept that harvests kinetic energy and converts it into electricity. Comprised of a single unit complete with a bench and patches of real grass, the green wheel features three different levels for runners of varying strengths and produces roughly enough energy in 30 minutes to charge 12 mobile phones.
Given energy shortages that leave some parts of Lebanon without power for up to twelve hours at a time, not to mention more than a few big bellies, we think this is a brilliant idea that could easily catch on with help from an angel investor or two.
Users step into the machine with the safety bars in the upright position, which locks the wheel in place until the runner is secure and ready to move. Once the security handles are replaced, there are three levels to suit runners of different fitness levels.
A series of steel bars covered in a mat of thick rubber transfers the kinetic energy produced by the athlete to the dynamo through a gear. This unit can then be connected to a central energy storage facility for use in street lights and other urban energy needs. Several units combined could result in significant energy generation that would not only alleviate pressure on an already-stressed grid, but also reduce carbon emissions as well.
Inaty originally published this design on Yanko, where several commentators chirped in. One person suggested that he enclose the machine to account for climate. Although we think that could be a bit suffocating, that might help to make exercise amid the city’s notorious pollution a little less painful.
A communal affair
Another commentator suggested that runners would never go for this, that they would prefer to run in nature instead. We all know that Beirut in particularly is somewhat short on the availability of green space, but the point, wrote Inaty, is also to enable runners to donate their energy for a good cause in exchange for a decent place to exercise.
The Green Wheel not only promotes greater health and a sustainable approach to design, but it also encourages a spirit of community and generosity, both of which are in great need everywhere. Whilst not as fun as running in the woods, we think this machine would definitely outrank the gym and it wouldn’t cost a cent to use.
A human rights and social activist who received his Masters in interior architecture from Lebanese University Fine arts faculty, Inaty is deeply concerned about his country’s ecological state.
“Like everywhere else our biggest challenge is facing the big companies especially those playing a mono-polar game and not caring about the results,” he told Green Prophet in an email.
“Nevertheless,” he adds, “the bright side is that we have lots of activism and awareness campaigns.”
:: Yanko Design
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