Hackaday Prize 2022: Treadmill Becomes Human-Powered Generator

Running on a treadmill is a great way to workout, but what if the effort you put in could be put to use? This treadmill generator from [Amitabh Shrivastava] does just that.

The build starts with a regular old treadmill, which has a motor inside typically used to power the tread. Instead, the motor’s control electronics were removed, and it was repurposed to work as a generator. The output from the treadmill’s DC motor was fed directly to a DC-DC converter. This was then fed to an inverter that generates 120 V AC, which can power appliances that use up to 20-25W based on [tinkrmind’s] running performance.

It’s a fun way to generate power during a workout. If you don’t want your treadmill’s monitor to die in the middle of a Friends rerun, you’ll have to dig deep on those long runs. We’ve seen similar builds before too, with exercise bikes being a popular method of generating electricity. In fact, that’s [Amitabh]’s next project! Video after the break.

11 thoughts on “Hackaday Prize 2022: Treadmill Becomes Human-Powered Generator

  1. Think of all the exercise centers out there, all the Peloton bikes… If they were all converted to exer-gens (©) we could end our dependency on foreign and fossil fuels while building healthy Americans.

    1. Joking aside, we still need fossil fuels to grow the food that our bodies need. The end to end efficiency is about the same as a gasoline car. We would be better off eating less and using e-bikes.

  2. so we’re back to the days when humans power the machines rather than machines powering humans. I always thought the promise of technology was that our lives would be easier. In reality, we work just to keep the things running. I’d rather go hunting and sit around a fire eating meat on the regular to this crap. You’re already all slaves to the machines, this just makes it more apparent.

  3. This is a fun idea. I’ve followed several of the commercial ones (Verde, Musclerig) that came out 3 or so years ago. One of the robotics clubs I work with converted one back in 2015 to make a “healthy” game console to make parents happy – it answered the question of “Can’t you do something to get exercise instead of playing those games?”

    Good for Amitabh. It’s not a new idea but it’s a good one.

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