My good friend Ruben, and I, were having a discussion this week about human power devices and it was very fitting as I was looking into developing a human power station. Something of a single device, powered by pedals, that could be used to attach to numerous different tools around the house, with the end result being more human power and less electrical dependancy.
I’ll admit that my main motivation behind this is the old german coffee hand-grinder that I use to hand-grind my espresso in the morning. It takes a while, and in fact, is quite and inefficient little machine. Hand power is very sensible for numerous kitchen tools, egg beaters etc., but the coffee grinder really takes time – about 5 minutes per double dose. Imagine, if we are hosting friends, someone(s) can be grinding for quite a while. So leg power! It would be way faster! But then, I don’t want to make an individual leg-powered coffee grinder, a separate blender, a separate sewing machine, etc. I, instead, would like to make a small power station which can be moved around and accept all of these tools from the same device.
Ruben linked me to this blog (Low Tech Magazine and it really peaked my interest on the idea on old-tech solutions to our small-scale mechanical problems such as grinding, splitting, spinning and cutting.)
How can we re-conceptualize the standard wall outlet and what exists behind the faceplate? Wall outlets are a completely ubiquitous part of our lives, but what if they weren’t there? What if we only had to use our legs to create mechanical solutions vs the electrical solutions we find everywhere today?