Friday, August 03, 2012

The Olympics, Heated Trousers and Pedenergy

Right, as is customary on this blog while you lot are all whooping at another Team GB Gold medal, well alright I was whooping as well, I have been looking at other aspects of the Olympics to see what’s going on. Nope, not the disgraceful conditions the Olympic cleaners are living in nor the sweatshop labour used to produce some of the kit. This is much more positive, yes indeed.

British Cycling and the pair of heated trousers…

This amazing tale of innovation comes from the British cycling team, and its collaboration with Loughborough University and a well known sportswear manufacturer (who is not allowed any ambush marketing on this blog – see it works both ways) that lead to the development of battery powered tracksuit trousers that bridge the gap between warm-up and competition, keeping the leg muscles at an optimum 38 degrees Celsius during the waiting period. They’re said to perform a job similar to tyre warmers in Formula 1 racing, pre-heating the muscles in a bid to improve performance. The trousers have battery-powered heat filaments that sit over the cyclist’s core muscle groups and maintain their temperature between warm-up and the start. They have a quick release too, which allows them to be removed at the last moment before a race. I’d publish a photo but we don’t do brand promotions here.

The Olympics and Pedenergy

This is another piece of Olympic innovation all to do with footfall – something sadly lacking at the moment in the West End and various suburban shopping centres, but they can’t say they weren’t warned as long as 2 years ago. This is all about harvesting energy from the footsteps of pedestrians and there are plenty of them in the Olympic Park even with all those empty seats. Developed by Pavegen, the 12 installed floor tiles, powered by the feet of spectators, will be supplying the energy that will be used to power twelve LED spotlights illuminating the length of the walkway from West Ham station to the Olympic Park, providing full power for eight hours at night but also for 16 daylight hours at half power.
When stepped on, the tiles flex by 5mm converting kinetic energy into a useful electrical output. Based on an average of six watts per footstep at an expected 12 million footsteps, the tiles will generate 20 kilowatt- hours (kWh) or 72 million joules of energy during the Games. Here’s a photo of one in action.

With thanks and acknowledgements to IDTechEx

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