Thursday, November 26, 2009

What's with all those design concepts?!

What's with all the infestation of internet with "green" design concepts that cannot work but win awards?
I mean designs such as
The amazing plaane of the future . (With a freaking wind turbine on the tail! You use wind turbine to power the engines with the energy of motion of airplane through air!)
Gravity lamp (debunked)
mp3 player powered by spinning finger in a hole.

The mp3 player one has not been debunked properly yet, but it is very similar to this lamp in that it utilizes common lack of intuitive relation of mechanical to electrical to sonic or light power.
Assuming hundred percent efficiency, headphones consume 20 milliwatts at max power, or 1.2 Joules per minute. 1 Joule is about the energy of 1kg lifted to height 10 centimeters. Spinning a finger in a hole is about the least ergonomic way to generate power; the smallest possible leverage in the least convenient way (and you can't spin player around the finger 'cause of headphone cable). Lifting 1kg to weight 10cm every minute by spinning finger in the hole is obviously out of question, unless you're doing it constantly. (Furthermore, the efficiency of mp3 player is far below 100% due to the power consumed by mp3 decoder).

All in all, a hand powered mp3 player, lamp, or other 'low power' appliance will need occasional but fairly vigorous spinning of a crank, squeezing, or vigorous shaking (e.g. during exercise). It would of course be very cool to power mp3 player by occasional turn of a finger, absolutely amazing in fact because such player would have to include a perpetual motion device, that's why this sort of stuff seems cool and amazing.

And while you're at it, forget about powering laptop by opening a lid or with power of keypresses - it is possible but such laptop a: won't have backlight, b: won't run any modern applications (think of having 1..10 mhz cpu , with the computational power of pc from 20 years ago), and c: but it would work for months on regular battery and could recharge by solar, rendering the whole keystroke power issue nill because solar panel is going to take less space.

On topic of energy saving measures, I limit ThePolynomial's fps to your display's refresh rate by default; this OpenGL feature doesn't seem to be supported on ATI under Windows (according to user reports, didn't test myself), which if true is really downright despicable behavior on AMD's part (they probably do it because of the few gamers whom would think ATI having 1000 fps and NVidia having 70 fps in games that syncs to refresh by default would make ATI look better, or some other silly marketing related reason for not implementing refresh syncing).

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