If solar power needs some competition, let it be people. A plan that would harvest energy from human movement is hatching from the minds of two grad students at the Architecture and Planning School at MIT. Both students were impressed enough by recent experiences in large crowds – for James Graham, the 2003 New York City blackout; for Tad Juscyzk, Boston’s World Cup celebration in City Hall Plaza – to start work on the Farm.

A Crowd Farm in Boston’s South Station railway terminal would work like this: A responsive sub-flooring system made up of blocks that depress slightly under the force of human steps would be installed beneath the station’s main lobby. The slippage of the blocks against one another as people walked would generate power through the principle of the dynamo, a device that converts the energy of motion into that of an electric current. Get a crowd in motion, multiply that single step by 28,527 steps, for example, and the result is enough energy to power a moving train for one second.

Juscyzk and Graham hope to redefine urban space by adding a sense of fluidity. “We want people to understand the direct relationship between their movement and the energy produced,” says Juscyzk. [via Boing Boing]

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