WeBikes lets users generate power and get some exercise in at the same time
Developed by WeWATT, a Belgian company that develops pedal-powered furniture solutions, WeBikes are stationary bicycles that not only double as desks but also use power generated from pedaling to charge devices, as well as a WiFi connection for users.
The concept was conceived by Flemish government minister Patricia Ceysens who created a cycling desk for herself so she could work out even with her busy schedule. She realized that her invention could be used to generate enough power that can charge devices. She eventually started the company WeWATT to produce her bike-desk contraption. Ceysens partnered with Katarina Verhaegen, an engineer who helped develop the bike and desk concept.
It takes about half an hour of pedaling to fully charge a smartphone on the WeBike. According to Verhaegen, that’s about the same amount of time it would take to charge a phone via plugging into a wall power socket. Half an hour is also the same number of minutes of exercise prescribed by the government, says Verhaegen.
The WeBike consists of a circular desk with three seats positioned around it. Each seat has its own set of pedals so that people can pedal away to power up their devices while using the desk. The bike-desk not only helps users charge their smartphones and other gadgets, but it also gets them to squeeze in a few minutes of exercise each day, helping them avoid becoming too sedentary. The WeBike helps provide an active alternative to simply sitting at one’s desk.
WeWATT manufactures the WeBikes at a local factory that is focused on inclusion of people with disabilities. The company also uses recycled materials to create the bike-desks. The table top is recycled industrial waste; the frame is made from recycled aluminum; the seat cover is from recycled leather, and the side wall is made from recycled cedar. WeWATT also allows for customization of the configuration of the WeBikes to accommodate user or space requirements.
WeWATT’s bike-desks or kiosks are currently used in public spaces such as airports, malls and railway stations. The bike-desks have also been exhibited in universities, libraries, and hotels. The company is also looking to roll out their products to private spaces like offices and lounges down the line. The office version of the bike-desk will reportedly include an integrated tracker that will help the user monitor how much exercise they have put in each day.