Originally published May 6 2015
Bike Washing Machine cleans your laundry while you pedal to burn calories
by Daniel Barker
(NaturalNews) I'm a believer in the benefits of pedal power, and I've written before about the many devices converted bicycles can be used to power, including washing machines.
Although most of the pedal power applications I have previously mentioned involved DIY conversions, a team of designers at China's Dalian Nationalities University has developed a device called the Bike Washing Machine, which does exactly what its name implies - namely, it washes clothes using pedal power alone.
The bike looks like a hybrid between an exercise bike and a washing machine. It's a stationary bike with one front "wheel," which contains an ordinary-looking washing machine drum. When you pedal the bike, the drum turns and washes a load of laundry the same way a typical washing machine does.
Although it is not clear whether the device will shift automatically from wash to rinse mode, it appears that the designers could make it perform that task fairly easily with some sort of timer and valve system.
It might seem like a gimmicky invention at first glance, but it does make sense, especially for those who live in small apartments where having an exercise bike and a separate washing machine might pose a problem in terms of space. The bike could also be useful to those living in remote areas where electricity is scarce or unavailable.
Another interesting feature of the Bike Washing Machine is that it can also be used to generate electricity that can be stored in a battery.
In addition to saving space, washing your clothes and generating electricity, the bike will also help you burn calories and shed pounds while performing those other useful tasks.
A prototype is now being built, and the team has submitted its design to the website Tuvie.com. The Tuvie site features innovative new design concepts and provides "a bridge between designer and investor/manufacturer."
I predict that in the near future, we will begin seeing similar devices designed to harness the energy exerted during an exercise routine, using it to generate electricity or perhaps to power other household appliances.
In a Daily Mail piece reporting on the Bike Washing Machine, there is also a sidebar describing a proposed design from a South Korean designer that would also drive washing machines and generate electricity by harnessing the energy expended on an exercise treadmill.
These types of innovations begin sounding more and more practical when you consider the fact that highly efficient batteries are now being developed that can store electricity for longer periods of time than before.
The new Powerwall batteries being introduced by Elon Musk have the potential to revolutionize the way we produce and store energy. This technology will make living off-grid a much more feasible concept, and there is absolutely no reason that human power can't be harnessed in the same manner solar and wind energy are currently being used.
Granted, it would take a lot of biking and jogging to generate a significant amount of power, but why not take advantage of what a human can generate? After all, everyone needs exercise to stay healthy, and the energy exerted in burning calories to stay fit is typically wasted - unless, of course, you get your exercise from chopping wood or tilling a garden the way our ancestors did.
In fact, pedal- and other human-powered devices offer us the opportunity to return to a more self-sufficient way of life, using renewable, non-polluting energy sources. That truly is a win-win situation in a world where wasteful consumption and dependency on fossil fuels have begun to threaten our very existence.
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