What can a hundred thousand Chinese people do when entering the subway? Produce power, of course! A team called “VIVA design”, from the Guangdong University of Technology in China, have retrofitted those turnstiles at the subway entrances to produce electricity whenever someone passes through.
The energy that the subway customers produce by passing the Self-Powered Turnstile is used to power the swiping card readers, coin counters and other electronics present in every such device. Thus they will need no external power supply, reducing their power consumption.
Though not providing much (except the case in which the turnstiles are made to be really pushed), the idea in itself is interesting, and so have found the jury of the 2010 Taiwan LITE-ON competition, where Green Pass won the “Gold Award” and the honor for Mainland China designs.
Getting back to my idea, if the Green Pass would be made to be pushed a little harder, it would be able to power even more than its own electronics, maybe even the stations’ lighting systems.
Funny thing, though, I never knew or thought much about how those turnstiles work. I had always presumed that they have some self-powering mechanism, because I thought it was obvious from the beginning that they’ll be able to be human powered, and wouldn’t need any external power source. Funny, isn’t it?