Health & Wellbeing

The River Gym - harnessing renewable energy from burnt-off calories

The River Gym - harnessing renewable energy from burnt-off calories
A series of floating vessels captures the energy derived from human motion
A series of floating vessels captures the energy derived from human motion
View 3 Images
The River Gym would offer passengers spectacular views of the New York skyline (Image: Dr Mitchell Joachim, Terreform 1)
The River Gym would offer passengers spectacular views of the New York skyline (Image: Dr Mitchell Joachim, Terreform 1)
A series of floating vessels captures the energy derived from human motion
A series of floating vessels captures the energy derived from human motion
A range of configurable equipment and varying sizes make the River Gym a flexible and efficient solution
A range of configurable equipment and varying sizes make the River Gym a flexible and efficient solution
View gallery - 3 images

It seems clear that our ability to more efficiently harness forms of renewable energy is vital to the future of our planet, but aside from the archetypal 'hamster in a wheel', few models have effectively relied on energy generated from living creatures. The River Gym is one of the more innovative concepts to break water in recent times and looks to cash in on our desire to exercise to stay fit and healthy by capturing the energy we expend when burning calories.

This inspired design is the brainchild of architect and eco-designer Mitchell Joachim, who holds a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Intended to travel in a 15-minute circuit around the Hudson and East Rivers in New York, the River Gym 'pods' would offer a range of exercise equipment capable of converting energy derived from human motion into usable electric energy stored in on-board batteries.

The vessels would be fitted with water purification devices to combat pollution and would also be capable of carrying additional passengers and commuters, thereby easing the burden of ferry lines as well as varying the intensity of the exercise.

Multiple vessels would vary in size during peak and off-peak hours, depending on the volume of passengers,

As well as the obvious benefits of exercise and eco-credentials, spectacular panoramic views offer unique variety for passengers that far surpasses the bland tedium of a conventional gymnasium, and modest docking facilities would include lockers, a reception desk, health food kiosks and more.

View gallery - 3 images
This sounds very innocent but actually this idea is an subtler, insidious, way of making you pay for a gym with not only money but also energy! - you exercise, they turn your "energy" into energy... and it's all at your expense!
It's about time gizmag stopped the fixation with "green" issues and related topics.
There is no substantial evidence to support "climate change" - that's why the term "global warming" has been dropped - because we've been experiencing colder and colder winters!
There's one thing for sure, global warming... Sorry, "climate change" is a great business opportunity for the business sector.
Stop the fixation Gizmag!!!
What?... Global Warming is a hoax? And the term "Global Warming" has been dropped? (I didn't get that memo).
Well then by all means lets go back to burning as much coal and oil as possible. That stuff is pretty harmless after all. And of course there is a limitless supply if we just keep drilling deep enough and bypass those pesky environmentalists who want to protect stupid things like trees and animals.
As for that floating gym... HOW DARE THEY try to do something that might actually earn them a profit? That IS insidious. They should pay for that floating gym out of their own pocket and make it freely available to everyone. Or better yet... pay for it with TAX DOLLARS! Yeah that's it!
So yes Gizmag... stop fixating on things that might actually help the world and show us some boobies...
Jamie S. You seem to have a fixation too.
I've never seen why one works hard doing nothing. Far better work helping someone like getting groceries for the elderly, making the roadway cleaner, mowing it's grass, etc once your own work is done.
At least in this gym your work does something. BTW the power you make, not even 100wthrs/hr, is only worth $.015 so it's not like the gym is making much on you. You'd need a group to actually move a vessel and that is only if there are no currents or wind.
Doug Akridge
These guys at another site had a very similar idea, read it here:
Ha, here's a comment to lighten the mood. Can someone explain how the 'gym' is going to capture the energy from the guy doing free weight squats?
The concept keeps bringing up sweat soaked flashbacks of trying to paddle an inflatable toy row boat. Considering river currents, a stiff breeze, and tidal flows I'm skeptical if it could work at all. For exercise on the water, the mirage drive kayak would be far more enjoyable and efficient method of transportation.
If you look at any gym, it's an energy 'sink'. Human energy is consumed by resisting motion through elastic bands, friction, electromagnets, and weights. The facility consumes other resources including water for showering and drinking, and electricity for the equipment, lights, and hvac. The simplest 'green' thing to do is to use the exercised-energy and try to offset the power used elsewhere. Because an indoor facility has codes regarding lighting, ventilation, and sanitation, it would likely be impossible to offset the energy consumed completely.
In the end, the boat-gym does make some sense. It eliminates the loss of energy that a brick and mortar structure consumes, and making it akin to running in the park. Whether someone would pay for the boat ride instead of just running in the park remains to be seen.
I can't see the point of having this thing floating around, but the idea of harnessing human exercise energy - that's brilliant! I don't know if it'd be enough to motivate me to go to a gym though!
matthew.rings states: Policy makers often use global warming. Scientists call the field climate change science.
There has been a notable shift in news organizations to begin using the more broad science term climate change vice the more politically charged global warming, and I think the politicians/policy-makers are also beginning to use that term. One can only conjecture why the change: perhaps to be more accurate, perhaps to avoid the bad P.R. of global warming, or perhaps to ensure they can push through policies regardless of temperature variations warmer *or* cooler. Hard to say why they say what they say... as long as we are all talking.
Being a doctor in the Navy, I saw a lot of gym related injuries from the ship moving unexpectantly from wave action. Usually dropped free weights with resultant injuries, but this was even on big ships. This little watercraft depicted will be spilling runners off of their treadmills left and right for even regular river chop.
I think it better to install a medium sized bank of stationary bikes on the Staton Island Ferry, and see what attraction there could be to working out on the 15 minute ride across the bay. It is time well spent, and as long as there was a shower waiting for you on the other side, not a bad way to burn some calories... can't beat the view!
Cheers, Doc
Rex Alfie Lee
Jamie_S, you should not write at all. You have obviously gained your IQ a point each year & so far that would make you about 16 perhaps. Global warming may bring about your end mate, especially if you keep denying it like the foolish politicians have. It is all too late but they can slow its progress but that is all. Should have been done 30 years ago, at least.
Loz, perhaps the idea is to give a modified vantage, or view (for Jamie & yourself). I believe it is about having a nice panorama.
Doc, you boring old fart. Get a life.
Practical? NOT!
economically viable? NOT!
Catchy green gimick? IN SPADES!
I have a simpler use of group exercise, here in the puget sound with 2 major lakes in the middle of our urban sprawl. Let them boat commute as a rowing/peddaling team.
Then they can own it, use it and to hell with \"bussiness models\" that some above posts seem to think are so veddy veddy uncouth!