Innovation That Matters

See-saw power for schools

Nonprofit & Social Cause

We’ve already written about the use of playground equipment as a means of pumping fresh water for African villages, and now a British student at Coventry University has come up with a way to use see-saws to generate power. Daniel Sheridan, a student in consumer product design, won three separate awards amounting to GBP 5,500 earlier this year for his see-saw design, which can create enough electricity to power a classroom by capturing the energy generated when children play on it. It would take just five to 10 minutes of play on the see-saw to light a classroom for a few hours, BBC News reported, though the energy gets transferred to an electrical storage unit via underground cable, so it would be up to the school to decide how the power is used. Sheridan was inspired by a volunteer project he worked on in Kenya last summer that included building a school. “The current need for electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa is staggering,” he explains. “Without power, development is extremely difficult. The potential market for this product is huge and the design could be of benefit to numerous communities in Africa and beyond.” Sheridan’s plan includes recruiting the local community to build part of the device and also install it, thereby creating involvement and reducing logistical costs. Late last month he reportedly left for a village near Jinja, Uganda, to test and finalize the prototype using locally derived parts. Alternative energy entrepreneurs: what are you waiting for? This one’s for you! 😉 (Related: Playing for water and Hippo water roller.) Spotted by: RK



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