Generating electricity with swing sets

[Guelherme Pena Costa] came up with an idea to light up a swing set using the motion of the people swinging on it to generate electricity. The goal was to get people to enjoy the playground at night and we think, this might actually be a pretty good way to achieve that. People love blink lights, especially if they are interactive.

To Light the LEd ropes, [Guelherme] has attached a gear motor to the frame of the swing set and an arm to the chain. When the swinger swings, it spins the motor generating between 6 and 10 volts at 230-400 mA. As you can see in the video below, that works fine to illuminate the LEDs, though we think a charging circuit to allow the lights to stay lit for longer would also be cool.

Comments

  1. Deg says:

    What a clever idea! I wonder if the ~5W of electrical power (so maybe >10W of mechanical power) is a noticeable drag on the swing. I also wonder if kids or adults would enjoy this more.. :)

    ..as long as an armchair development worker doesn’t
    take the idea of play too far.

    I guess this swing is more like the piano keyboard stairs that encouraged people not to use the escalator – details. Blinky/audio interaction = activity!

  2. Chuckt says:

    Our supermarket installed calculators on every shopping cart and every one was smashed by kids so I’m guessing by past human behavior that the swings will be vandalized very shortly.

  3. MrX says:

    What a great idea! I’d install a small battery (or big capacitor) to keep the lights lit at the points where angular speed is zero.

  4. Miles says:

    Just add POV and you have instant art, fun and free power for all.

  5. echodelta says:

    Since most parks are closed at night the lights might as well be red and blue. A cool idea any way.

  6. Alan Riser says:

    I invented one of these 4 years ago. One has been running in Ghana for 3 years and another for 2 years. They are used to charge LED lights for the school children. The swing will also pump water from a borehole.

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