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AWESOME THING OF THE DAY: A Workstation Powered By Your Butt
June 28, 2012
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The average office worker spends almost six hours a day sitting at a desk, a sobering statistic, given what we now know about the health effects of prolonged sitting. But what if our sedentary lifestyles could be put to good use to create energy?

Enter Swedish designer Eddi Tornberg, who was inspired to create this workstation, that he says generates power from the human body. It's Tornberg's belief that "few people in the long term have the will, interest and energy to struggle to achieve a sustainable society". His solution? An office powered by simple, everyday activities.


The desk and its associated furniture - created as a thesis project at Beckmans College of Design in Stockholm - use the limited range of motion of the average office worker in a number of ways: first, the chair uses the 'Seebeck Effect' to make power. In 1821, physicist Thomas Seebeck discovered that if you make some materials warm on one side and cool on the other, you can generate electricity. Your butt is warm, while the bottom of the chair is cool. Thus, a little more power for your laptop.

Also, the carpet under the desk chair is enriched with crystals that respond to pressure with a release of power. So every time you shift your feet or roll your chair back and forth, you're creating a little bit of power. And the plant beside the desk is also part of the power-generating scheme - it uses photosynthesis to add a little more electricity to the mix.

Tornberg hasn't specified how much power these combined elements will generate - although he has created a chair that powers a lamp in the past. But generating any extra power automatically could serve both the environment and the bottom line. Pun intended.


When author A.J. Jacobs was in the red chair recently talking about his new book, 'Drop Dead Healthy', he told George about the dangers of sitting at a desk all day. His solution? Stand up and walk - he wrote the book while on a treadmill:

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