Energy Generation At Your Feet With Power Box Pedal Power

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Connecting people proactively to the energy they use is a beautiful notion. Enabling people to produce their own energy independent of other dubious sources such as diesel power is an extraordinary idea. It is also a doable one that can be fixed up under many a desk. K-TOR Human Energy, the new face of alternative energy, offers this through its pedal-powered generator.

We are a planet of people fastened to our computers, our iPads, our technological universe, a global community we could only belong to through the internet, education found in any divergent area we require, and abundant web-based business. We need this plan. Our bodies need this to match our wandering, gathering, intellectual pursuits — or rather, to bring them into balance.

I just read that we can expect more power outages in the coming years. Don’t be caught without backup power and thinking,”wish I had bought that K-TOR Power Box.” 😀

It’s about time that sedentary desk job found some spark with a system for generating energy from your feet, and thanks to the same folks who brought us the K-TOR hand crank generator for bringing us this.


TreeHugger provides some more details on the Power Box:

The Power Box, from K-TOR, allows users to plug-in any mobile device with its own charger and to top off its battery by pedaling, and while it’s best suited to smaller devices (phones, MP3 players, tablets, etc.), larger electronics (such as laptops) can also be powered with this generator.

“The Power Box can produce up to 20 watts. It can directly charge a full range of portable devices. Because it is so powerful, it can charge more than one device at a time — like a smart phone and a tablet. Since it can be cranked for long periods of time comfortably, it can be used for higher power applications that it cannot charge directly. Simply charge an external battery and run your appliances, either directly from the external battery or through an inverter.”

The K-TOR Power Box sells for $195. You’re not going to make that money back from producing electricity using it, but you’re also getting exercise out of the technology.

Related Stories:

Pedal Power Simple Human-Powered Means Generating Energy

Forget Wall Chargers for Your Gizmos — Pedal Power for Phones, GPS, Lights

Pedal Power from Nuru Light Replaces Kerosene with Clean Energy

An Open Source Pedal-Powered Generator

Bicyclean — Pedal-Powered Means Of Recycling E-Waste In Developing Nations

Solar-Powered Pedal Car Project On Kickstarter

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Cynthia Shahan

Cynthia Shahan, started writing after previously doing research and publishing work on natural birth practices. Words can be used improperly depending on the culture you are in. (Several unrelated publications) She has a degree in Education, Anthropology, Creative Writing, and was tutored in Art as a young child thanks to her father the Doctor.

Cynthia Shahan has 946 posts and counting. See all posts by Cynthia Shahan

18 thoughts on “Energy Generation At Your Feet With Power Box Pedal Power

  • this is stupid, there is so much energy in the sun and solar has become so cheap.
    energy is almost for free and will be in near future. We are far beyond this.

  • Interesting. I see this working if it can provide a meaningful workout and provide a meaningful charge – something like “take an afternoon break to charge your phone with pedal power – and get a workout!” It looks like it would fit under a desk which could work well for worker bees (knowledge workers). I personally prefer solutions that tie to the grid – it would be neat if you could just plug it in to the wall and feed back to your home grid – but I can see this finding a niche in the market assuming it’s not priced too high.

    • Kyle. Come on, now. Why be so credulous and lazy? You say “if it can provide a meaningful workout and provide a meaningful charge,” and “assuming it’s not priced too high.”
      Why not answer that for yourself, as I did above? It took me about two minutes. If you’re less familiar with the numbers, you might need a little longer, but wouldn’t the practice and education be a good thing?
      Obviously you can read and think, and you have the whole Internet in front of you…what’s the holdup?

      • If I was more interested in actually using or evangelising the tech, I would have. As it is,it’s just “neat”. I love that you are prodding me to get off my proverbial butt (ok, just get my fingers moving) to figure it out…as I do many times for articles on this site. 🙂

        • Kyle,
          I’m glad you took my reply as intended: to provoke but not insult. And I’m glad you make the effort to verify things for other articles. To me that’s the fun and value of these discussions. I wish the writers and moderators would do more of the basic homework, but that’s another issue.

          I differ with you about whether this tech is “neat” enough to deserve any attention here, or to be called news. Voltage converters and charging circuits have become more compact and efficient, but the basic mechanical generator isn’t noticeably better than it was a century ago. Humans are no stronger, and they will _never_ be capable of producing more than trivial amounts of electricity.

          Promoting this junk here is a waste of time and space, a pointless distraction, and to the extent readers take it seriously, it can only undermine legitimate technology. How much I don’t know, but it’s a step in the wrong direction.
          I would be fine with it if the article had said “Look at how these people are deceptively taking advantage and making a profit with a coat of Green paint. Buyer beware!” But on this site one almost never sees that sort of skepticism applied to anything but fossil fuels and nuclear. Such a blatant bias is not helpful.

          • How about we have a moment of truth here?

            This site is not run by a bunch of tech heads. It’s run by people who really care about finding solutions to help us minimize climate change. They’re trying to find solutions and to find the good news we need to stay positive. And, therefore, productive.

            There’s a threshold for what gets published and what gets left behind. The threshold is set a bit too low for some. IMHO that’s better than setting it too high and missing some good stuff.

            I view the articles as a jumping off point. If some us know more than the author then bring it.

            We’ve got a pretty good community here made up of people with varied background. With a little effort we can learn from each other and teach others.

            I’d like to see the authors in the discussion more often. I know that Zack and Tina read at least some of the comments and make a few. The other “regulars”, I’m not so sure. Pieces brought in from the outside, we probably shouldn’t expect to hear from those writers.

            Bottom line, we’ve got a place take the lead from an article and flesh it out. Not many places like that on the web as far as I’ve seen. The people with non-productive agendas get culled. Spam is mostly wiped. Things stay more or less civil and focused.

            Use it until you find something better.

  • Make this a rule for all homes…whatever you can generate, you can use…and no more! No more obesity, no more internet addicts. Families will start talking again.

    • That’s simply not realistic.

    • Yeah…you first!

      With all four members of a family pedaling 8 hours _every_ day, they’d produce less than 3% of the average U.S. household’s electricity. Maybe you’ve already reduced your consumption to half the average – now think carefully about what it would take to eliminate 95% of what’s left.

      Get families talking again? How about screaming because of the sheer unrelenting boredom of pedaling in one place all day just to charge a phone, a laptop, and a few small LED lights? With everyone pedaling and nobody working, income would soon be an issue for most families. Starvation, even.

    • I’m on my way to doing that – with solar 🙂 and I can still be fat an lazy (ok, i’m a skinnyish vegetarian…but yeah, it’s better than pedaling for it 🙂 ).

  • This nonsense again? Is there no editor or quality control or basic fact-checking on Cleantechnica? Sloppy “reporting” like this (actually just reprinting some scam company’s hype) discredits the whole site.

    The K-Tor puts out “up to 20 watts,” which could only sound impressive to someone who has no idea what that means. But in the whole post, one essential bit of data about the generator is missing – its price. Well, I looked it up: $195, not including shipping.

    So lets have some perspective. At the average U.S. residential price of $0.10/kwh, and a highly unrealistic assumption that you pedal it at full output 8 hours/day, it would take 50 hours, more than 6 days, to make 10 cents worth of energy. At zero-interest financing, the payback time at 50 40-hour weeks/year is 50 years! And that’s in an implausible best-case scenario.

    Only a fool would put his/her cash into this scam product instead of into a 100-watt PV panel.

    • I think the main benefit of this tech is not the electricity — that’s a side benefit. Allowing for exercise while working is a nice offer. $195 is not a lot for a bike or stationary bike. Quite comparable there, but hey, then you also generate a bit of electricity on the side. And seeing how little you generate might also make you more aware of electricity usage, which has many benefits. 😛

      I understand your criticisms, but don’t think this is a scam or worthless.

      • And yeah, for any commercial product, we should make sure the price is included.

        • Technical arguments aside, I hope this is a chance for a more important discussion, about the quality and credibility of Cleantechnica, so I’m glad you’re paying attention.
          I gather that you’re a high-level editor and/or moderator, so I assume you would care about journalistic integrity. I like the site and the causes it tries to support, so I want it to succeed by being credible and reliable. I find myself in a debunking role here all too often, and not because I have a lot of time to waste or want to be a pain in the ass.
          Yes, price info should be included, but that’s just the start. Can you explain why it’s not the writers’ responsibility to spend a few minutes on fact-checking, instead of leaving it up to a few commenters to clean up the mess later? How hard is it to add a short paragraph to balance the hype? Something to the effect of:
          “So that’s what the sellers [researchers, whatever] say about it. Now here’s some perspecive on costs and benefits, and my take on whether it’s likely to work. [brief analysis] Any reactions or corrections?”
          I don’t see why that’s too much to ask, and everyone would benefit. From pedal generators to flying cars, there’ve been far too many articles where the writer comes off looking irresponsible or foolish. That undermines my confidence in articles on topics where I don’t know enough to judge whether the post is accurate.

          • I’ve got to agree.

      • Thanks for your courteous reply, Zachary.

        To elaborate on what Bob pointed out, this thing is _not_ a substitute for a bike or stationary bike. It’s barely a substitute for the $33 peddler, and not even quite, since you have to add a platform for the K-Tor. If you want a regular workout, neither device is a good solution, since they don’t have the support framework that makes pedaling effective and makes real exercise bikes cost $100-150. So it’s not totally worthless for exercise, but close in light of the much cheaper alternatives.

        For energy, I’ve already shown how close to worthless it is, under extremely generous assumptions. It would take 42 years at 0% interest to pay back the price difference over a $32 device. At a more realistic 2 hr/day utilization, almost a 200-year payback. That’s a strong hint that it’s virtually worthless environmentally…

        …even when considered in a vacuum. But any $200 spent on this thing is $200 less for investment in solar or home insulation or a payment on a more efficient car or… So no, not a net benefit; it’s a step backward.

        That leaves us with your last fallback: a potential educational benefit. That came up in a parallel discussion of the Nuru pedal-gen. I don’t buy it, for several reasons. I don’t believe people become “more aware of electricity usage” by seeing how many hamster wheels would be needed to run their fridge, but by seeing how much they pay for it, directly and indirectly. This device adds nothing but confusion in that regard.

        To the small extent that it matters to educate people about the tiny amount of power humans can generate, how is that worth $200/person, plus whatever space the thing needs? Why not do this the traditional way, by setting up a few of these things in malls, county fairs, or gyms, so everyone can give it a spin for a few minutes? That’s all it takes to get the point.

        Your hypothesis is that when people learn that, they’ll conserve. A likely alternative is that they’ll misunderstand, believe the K-Tor hype, and think they’ve done their part for the environment. Haven’t we seen the same effect when people recycle their bottles and cans, unplug their phone chargers, then fly to Hawaii or Australia for vacation and still think they’re Green?

  • The sun isn’t reliable, especially in a loss of light scenario. I’m in the UK, and that only needs it to be one of those very common days when there isn’t sunshine. Solar panels just don’t generate enough power without it for running a netbook when camping. I’ve tried some basic tests on wind generation and that isn’t reliable either. So wind and sun are not reliable.

    I was looking at things to use with a bike, but this is smaller, lighter, cheaper and does not require a bike and a bike stand.

    I’m concerned about the noise level though, as it is a droning noise that will carry long distances and irritate the heck out of other people. It would also mean that it can’t be used in a civil emergency without attracting a great deal of attention to myself and my kit, and that is to be avoided. (In one civil emergency the Police ordered people to cover their windows to block out all light and to keep a low profile, as people were so desperate that they would come crashing in for anything they could get. Historically, people have been grabbed by the throat by others so desperate that they thought they may have food in their mouth and they wanted to prevent them from swallowing it.)

    A low profile is a major factor in civil emergencies and the noise from this thing seems pretty loud. Even the noise from wind up lamps and radios upsets people on camp sites very quickly. Going to all the trouble of being able to move away from problems in an emergency and not flag myself up with smoke from a fire etc. etc. would be undone by any attempt to use this thing. Sadly, coz I’d be up for buying one were it not for that.

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