|Photo by Matt Bohlen, U-M-Flint
Raj Pandian, an assistant professor of engineering science at U-M-Flint,
observes a child on a teeter-totter. He has invented a system for harnessing
energy from equipment in children's playgrounds and other public places.
This is a low-cost, low-resource means of generating electricity.
For this demonstration, Pandian attached air pumps to the underside of
a teeter-totter. When children play, air is collected in storage tanks.
As it is released, it drives an air-driven generator. When large numbers
of children play in a playground, part of the power of their play is harnessed,
resulting in significant energy storage. The stored energy can be converted
into auxiliary or back-up electric power to operate basic, low-power appliances
in the school, such as lights and fans.
His research in human power conversion is funded by a grant from U-M-Flint.