Human Power Generation

Project: Design, build, and test a human-powered electric generation device

The human body contains enormous quantities of energy. In fact, the average adult has as much energy stored in fat as a one-ton battery. That energy fuels our everyday activities, but what if those actions could in turn run the electronic devices we rely on? Today, innovators around the world are banking on our potential to do just that. In this section of Engineering 100, you become a human power generator!

You will learn the principles of systems engineering through the design, build, and test of a human-powered electric generation device. You will be exposed to interdisciplinary engineering through the application of principles including linear and rotational motion, force and torque, power transmission, electric and magnetic circuits, and electrical energy generation. You will explore these concepts in the lab, and then apply them to the development of your device, while also considering budget constraints, material design trade-offs, and component fabrication. In the end, your device will be put to the test! How many energy can you generate?