Human beings are capable of doing just about anything. In fact, the harder the task, the more determined we are to tackle it. Unless, of course, you’re talking about altering our behavior to be more sustainable. We can put a man on the moon and create super computers that fit in the palm of your hand, but ride our bike instead of driving? Nah, that’s just too much for us.
Frustrated by the human race’s inherent laziness, Swedish designer Eddi Törnberg decided to come up with a way to conserve energy that literally requires no extra effort. For his thesis project, Törnberg created “Unplugged,” a set of simple office furniture that turns our body heat and weight into electricity. Seeing as how many of us spend at least eight hours a day sitting at a desk in front of a plethora of electronics, this concept could prove to be very successful in the corporate world.
According to the Atlantic, Törnberg’s design utilizes several different methods for harvesting energy from our lack of movement:
- Using something called the ”Seebeck Effect” the metal desk chair turns butt heat into small amounts of electricity
- Carpet under the desk is enriched with crystals that respond to pressure with a little release of power
- A nearby plant is actually a plant-microbial fuel cell, which means that the natural sugars and enzymes help to extract energy through photosynthesis.
According to Törnberg of these systems work together to turn an office cubicle into a passive power plant. “The concept thereby moves sustainable design from the realm of demand and effort and makes it into something tailored to our everyday existence.”
Of course, this is all just a conceptual design. Although the techniques involved are all legitimate, there’s yet to be proof that “Unplugged” would actually make a significant dent in an individual’s personal power consumption. In the past, he has built a chair that powers a lamp, though. Since there are few things humans do better than nothing at all, it’s definitely a concept that deserves some development.
Image via Eddi Törnberg