back to article Laptop power cranks up a gear

There’s never really been a reliable way of losing weight and saving the planet - and certaintly not one that works while you're sat working at your desk. Until now - a Spanish Polytechnic has invented a laptop that runs on a miniature bicycle. cycle_laptop_2 No need for the gym after work now The Polytechnic of Madrid’s …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    Where are the two wheels, then?

    Reminds me of someone I once knew excitedly shouting, "Cool, there's a three-wheeled quad bike!"

  2. Stephen Porton
    Thumb Up

    April Fools

    Didn't you guys run this as an april fools a few years ago? Does that mean you get royalties?

  3. William Clark
    Thumb Up

    Not so silly..

    What is the difference between this and a treadle 'powered' sewing machine or potters wheel - very little except that potter or seamstress/tailor is probably doing some actual work.

    I think this is a great idea - I would love a treadle desk to recharge/power a laptop or even a desktop - might eat some of those excess pounds we westerners are prone to accumulate and would save time and money wasted at the gym.

  4. Martin Gregorie


    The sustainability of this power source depends on what the pedal pusher eats and where it came from.

  5. Tom

    Want Two!

    Brilliant - I want one so I can excercise parts other than my right hand while browsing the web!

    And I can imagine saving a large wack on the heating bill as I wont need to keep it on so high to keep warm.

    Looks like a win win win gadget.

  6. Na Bodach

    Retro Tech

    Everything old is new again, or convergent evolution?

    See Treager's pedal radio (c1929):

  7. Steve
    Thumb Up

    Very efficient

    I doubt if people would leave the laptop on (or be able to) if they weren't working, would you bother to peddle just for solitaire?

  8. Ben

    Could you actually concentrate?

    I don't think I could, especially if 50 other users where in the same room as me all pedalling.

  9. Steve
    Thumb Down

    Hydrogen Powered?

    "create a device capable of powering laptops using only renewable and sustainable energy sources"

    So how exactly is a hydrogen fuel cell renewable or sustainable.

    Unless it came with a proviso, "Must only be recharged with hydrogen from green production facilities".

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Will the power companies buy the excess leccy if we keep pedalling??

    Just thinking of the surge caused by overexcitment when viewing any new Paris Hilton photos.

  11. Alex Hearl


    (please note, my coat is already on in anticipation...)

    ...what happens when you need to answer the call of nature - presumably the laptop has some kind of rechargeable battery so you don't have to be pedalling all the time.....

    Also - what about discrimination for the legless (and no, I don't mean the Sys Admins after a "Liquid Lunch")....

  12. David Shepherd

    Soylent Green

    Seem to remember this scheme being used in Soylent Green (though not to power laptops as they hadn't been invented in the future back then!) So get very suspicious of intel start producing a nutritious food item any time!

  13. Vaughan

    Could you actually concentrate?

    No, me neither. There's no reason the pedals have to be near the laptop though. Electricity generated by other means is currently distributed across entire countries. The power stations of the future could also be the gyms...or the correctional institutions.

  14. James Smith

    I'll have it

    I sit at a desk all day and its not good on the waist line.

    I'll happily use one of these a few hours a day!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    > presumably the laptop has some kind of rechargeable battery

    Seriously, which do you think is more likely? That they built an entire new laptop and didn't think of putting a battery in it, or that they used an existing laptop which had a battery and just stuck a charger on?

  16. Nick Galloway


    how about detaching the laptop battery and having the charger attached to an actual bicycle. That way you can ride your bicycle to work and home again while charging your battery?

    Once the battery runs out of juice you are compelled to go for a ride, ergonomically good for you (hazardous if you ride to the local pub!) as you will not spend too much time plonked in front of your screen. I do like the idea of using the gym junkies as a source of free (voluntarily paid up) electrical energy. Has a low tech shade of the Matrix about it...!

  17. Adam Potts
    Thumb Up


    "how about detaching the laptop battery and having the charger attached to an actual bicycle. That way you can ride your bicycle to work and home again while charging your battery?"

    God thats a good idea.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Portable = Dynamo lights

    Not so dandy - there's a reason that dynamo lights on bicycles fell out of favour a few years ago: they are a huge drag on the wheel*. They worked by running a wheel on the tyre of the bike - the drag might be reduced with an inductive dynamo, but I don't know if they make those for bikes. You'd need to put a lot of stuff on the hub.

    Anyway, I think it's fair enough pedalling under your desk when all the juice goes into your laptop, but increasing the load on a normal bike when you're already putting your energy into making the bike move is really annoying.

    [*] and the lights went out when you stopped... v. dangerous at traffic lights.

  19. A J Stiles

    @Nick Galloway

    Please re-read your old O-level physics textbook; specifically, the bit about energy never being created nor destroyed, but merely changing from one form to another.

    Using the energy supplied to the pedals by the rider to charge a battery *as well as* propelling the bicycle will require more energy input (i.e., it will feel as though the pedals are stiffer). You can test this out on a bicycle with dynamo lights: disconnecting the bulbs makes it easier to turn the pedals (because there is now no electrical energy being converted mostly to heat, with a tiny bit escaping as visible light).

    Anyway, wasn't the OLPC project supposed to have a pedal-powered generator as one of its power options?

  20. Herbert Meyer

    from instructables

    Instructions for the Soylent Green charger:

    About $300 in cost (not including bike), 300 watt output (healthy young pwer source, 1/2 horsePower).

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kiddy Power

    Stuff the idea of Jocks powering the grid, there are not enough of them.

    I have said for years that the best source of renewable energy is small children, and you wont even have to pay them!!

    Just build some big hamster type wheels with attached generators, and they will play in them all day, generating megawatts each!!!

    Now all I have to do is figure out how to convert megawatts into todger pulling units for the Reg staff to take the idea seriously.

    (That's British Standard Todger Pulling Units for all you yanks with your teeny todgers).

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I would like to power my G4 PowerBook with a treadle powered device. All it would take is maybe 20-30 minutes every half day. Add a second pedal for the treadle and the action would be more rhythmic, natural and efficient. I'm in -- where can I get one???

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