This is an idea I believe I had while at university, and since then I think the idea has only improved. Like many of my inventions, maybe I am actually just stealing another existing item, but this time I think I am really on to something.
To set the scene, here are two things I believe are problems:
- University fees are too high. This acts as a barrier of entry for people, and can also create significant debt for those who do attend
- Lots of people are overweight
Now, maybe you would think these two things are not related (though I imagine you could find a link between low levels of education, and obesity… but that isn’t my point), but the solution to both is the same, and it's my new "invention":
The Power Generation Desk ® © ™
See, my idea is a small pedal powered generator that you can put under pretty much any desk. Then, as you sit there you can pedal away and generate power.
So, you can see how this might help with obesity - if people are pedaling while they are sitting at a desk they will burn calories. But what about University fees?
My solution is to have at least a section of desks in each University lecture theater with these generators under them. When students sit there, they can swipe their student ID (or phone, or whatever) and it logs them in. Then, as they pedal it will track how much power they generate. This is tracked against their ID, and is credited to them, and lowers their fees.
Sure, the power generation is unlikely to offset total fees, but it doesn’t have to as long as it helps a bit. The system could be set up that as long as you generate X watts a week/month, then your tuition is free. Or it could be scaled based on your ability to pay fees in the first place (in the same way that financial assistance is more available to people who need it more (that's a thing, right?)).
However it is set up, the idea is that people are exercising, and getting some level of discount/assistance on their University fees. Everyone wins!
It also helps the rest of the world too, because it is a green source of power, and people like green things.
To try and clarify (and because it is expected at this point?) here is a diagram to explain how it all works:
This is obviously applicable everywhere else outside of university too. Why don’t offices give staff the ability to have a pedal desk. Sure, not everyone will want it, but those who do stay healthy, and generate at least some power for the company.
Or have them at home next to your couch, if you are watching TV, or eating dinner you can pedal away and help lower your power bill while also staying fit.
Screw it, why not put them in taxis too? Any taxi that is an electric car (probably not many, but might work for hybrids too) can have passengers pedal and maybe offer lower fares?