Retrofitting the RSF into a Human Powered Gym

Project Leads: Maha Haji, Kimberly Lau, Jodi Loo

Sponsor: Community Assessment of Renewable Energy and Sustainability (CARES)

TGIF Grant: $15,000

Project Theme: Energy Conservation & Efficiency

Project Location

2010 Application Submission

Status: Complete (Project Scope Changed- please read through annual updates)

Project Description: The Human Power Generation in Fitness Facilities research project will create a human power generation center at the UC Berkeley Recreational Sports Facilities, which averages over 2,800 patrons per day, to develop new technologies and methods for energy conservation and power generation. This project is part of the Community Assessment of Renewable Energy (CARES) research being conducted in the Berkeley Energy and Sustainability Technologies (BEST) labratory in the Mechanical Engineering department at the University of California, Berkeley. 

Human Powered Gym Website

Goals: Prototype a system for harnessing energy from an existing Precor elliptical machine. Create a human power generation center at RSF by retrofitting the 28 elliptical machines so they can generate an estimated 10,000 kwh annually of usable energy for the building. Create/install signage and posting for the energy usage statistics of various machines. Install an interactive display of the energy generation statistics at RSF. Retrofit a recumbent bicycle with a pedal-powered laptop station that educates users about alternative energy and sustainability as they exercise. Educate the campus community about how much energy each RSF machine is using when they are exercising. Assist the campus in reaching Cal-CAP goals.

TGIF Blog Posts about Human Powered Gym

Project Posters

2011 Poster 2013 Poster
 
 

 

2010-2011 Accomplishments

  • The project team expanded to approximately fourteen students to complete the project. The students were divided into two teams: one to work on the pedal-powered laptop system and one to work on the elliptical energy-harnessing system. The project team completed 80% of the pedal-powered laptop station and the elliptical trainer energy-harnessing system is underway in the prototyping stages.
  • The project team received an elliptical donation from a professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department; unfortunately, its internal mechanisms were too different from those within the RSF machines and therefore could not be used for the prototype.
  • The project team received an elliptical donation from RSF by the end of spring semester; this machine will be used starting fall 2011 for the elliptical prototype.
  • Human Powered Gym was able to offer course credit up to 4 units to students for assistance with the project; this offer will be carried over into 2011-2012.


October 7, 2011: Project leader Maha Haji was interviewed by KALX for its show Spectrum, a thirty minute Science and Technology show airing at noon on alternating Fridays. Spectrum explores scientific research and technology development through interviews with leading practitioners at UC Berkeley and throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Listen to the full interview here.

2010-2011 Year End Report



Next Steps: The Human Powered Gym team will recruit new volunteers for the 2011-2012 team to replace leaving members. As a part of the retrofit of each elliptical machine, there will be an on-board energy management unit from which the project team can monitor the energy generated by each machine and can track the total energy generated by the gym. The project team will also monitor the usage of various pieces of equipment changes over time (i.e. if patrons use the treadmills less) with sign-up sheets at the RSF. Finally, once the installations are in place, the project team will send out a post-implementation survey to evaluate how the RSF users' perceptions and opinions of energy usage and consumption have changed. Human Powered Gym estimates annual energy savings of approximately $1,000 upon completion of retrofitting all 28 elliptical machines.

2011-2012 Accomplishments

  • Recruited a new student intern to head the creation of an energy education campaign for the RSF.
  • Created a team of 15 undergraduates who received course credit for their research work and documentation of meeting minutes, design review presentations, and final reports.
  • Converted a stationary recumbent bicycle into a pedal powered laptop station- the team had some technical difficulties in its original design and had to make many modifications. The team also decided to purchase a discounted iPad rather than use a laptop to create a more interactive experience for an educational kiosk.
  • The team began working in spring 2012 to convert a donated elliptical machine into a working prototype of an energy harnessing system; the team hopes to have the model completed by the end of summer 2012


Next Steps: The Human Powered Gym Team is looking to recruit more education interns to create an interdisciplinary education and & outreach team for once all the protoyping and engineering is completed. The team plans on continuing to offer course credit to undergraduate interns working on the project and also plans to use some of the TGIF grant to offer stipends to some of the student researchers. Once the prototyping of the elliptical is completed, the team plans to retrofit 14 RSF elliptical machines, install the educational kiosk (pedal powered iPad), and install other energy education materials,  such as posters, energy consumption data of each machine, and an interactive "Daily Energy Generated" display. In order to create powerful educational materials, the team will collect energy generation data from the ellipticals.

Human Power Generation: Pedal Power Team Spring 2012 Semester Report
Darshan Kasar, Shail Shah, Chathu Abeyrathna, Matt Roeschke, Kyle Zampaglione- May 13, 2012

2012-2013 Accomplishments

  • Prototype educational kiosk (pedal powered laptop)- Convert stationary recumbent bicycle into a pedal powered laptop station. The team is fine tuning the casing and how to demonstrate the output power of the machine and the effectiveness of generating/saving energy as an educational opportunity for future display in the RSF.
  • Prototype human power harnessing system- Convert elliptical machine into energy harnessing system. Completed putting together the parts, but still need to design proper casing for the parts.
  • Test prototyped energy harnessing system and try to improve energy efficiency- Currently awaiting the RSF's resources to transport the machine to the RSF in order to do testing, since the machine must be plugged into the grid to work/test.
  • Prepare to retrofit 14 elliptical machines at the RSF with protoyped technology
  • Two undergraduates working on energy education campaign for the RSF and the human power gym installation- Currently have two undergraduates working on this campaign. They will send out surveys and create apps for RSF user feedback on green exercise technology. In the process of creating an app for RSF users to use to access usage. Coordinating such efforts with the Pedal and Elliptical team.

Accomplishments
Human Powered Gym: Pedal Powered Charging Station
Darshan Kasar, Matt Roeschke, Kyle Zampaglione- Fall 2012

Human Powered Gym : Elliptical Team

Jodi Loo, Eric Mao, Rajith Jayaratne, Steven Frangos, Danny Namkyu Chang- Fall 2012

  • The Human Powered Gym team presented the project at Engineering for Kids (E4K) Day, Cal Day, and at the 2013 CACS summit. The project had the ME110 and ME290H class groups work on a prototype for a user interface system for the machines.
  • Human Powered Gym was mentioned in Ecopedia's May article Human Powered Gyms Make Watts from Your Workout.
  • Completed the first version of the elliptical and housing for the retrofit parts. The team is planning on building another, more finalized, housing design as the final design.
  • Tested the energy harnessing system and calculated data. The team is not optimizing for efficiency.
  • Currently awaiting RSF and Precor's approvals on the retrofit in order to progress with the project.
  • Posters and sldes (for the RSF multimedia screens) have been made by the education team with plans for collaborating with the RSF to display them. Posters are ready to be printed to display in the RSF.

 

Human Power Generation at the Recreational Sports Facility at UC Berkeley
Spring 2013 Final Report 
 



2013-2014 Accomplishments

  • On November 5, 2013, the first retrofitted elliptical was installed in the RSF. 
  • The educational team plans to promote the use of the elliptical over the treadmill as the 28 ellipticals generate ~1% of the RSF's annual energy useage, while treadmills generate 12%
  • The team also installed a retrofitted bike trainer
  • Implemented the educational campaign, including a series of slides for the RSF television screens with information about sustainable energy, energy useage in the United States, and their project. 
  • Created a theft-proof solution for the iPad, fit the casing back onto the bike, and found correct chargers.
  • Unfortunately, the team was unable to convert the DC output from the motor into AC power, and had to abandon the plan of sending the energy directly back to the grid as was originally proposed.  Decided instead of use the DC power from the motor to charge batteries which would in turn charge patrons' cell phones. 
  • The elliptical team added a data acquisition device using a custom programmed Arduino to capture statistics on power generation.


HPG Final Report

Full Timeline

Summer/Fall 2009

  • Feasibility study conducted on the Recreational Sports Facility (RSF) at the University of California, Berkeley (RSF) to determine how energy efficient the facility was and to estimate the amount of energy that could be harnessed from gym patrons
  • User survey sent out to members of the RSF which demonstrated that many members could be educated on the energy usage of various machines in the hopes that they choose to use cardio machines that use less energy
Fall 2010 - Spring 2011
  • The project team expanded to approximately fourteen students to complete the project. The students were divided into two teams: one to work on the pedal-powered laptop system and one to work on the elliptical energy-harnessing system. The project team completed 80% of the pedal-powered laptop station and the elliptical trainer energy-harnessing system is underway in the prototyping stages.
  • The project team received an elliptical donation from a professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department; unfortunately, its internal mechanisms were too different from those within the RSF machines and therefore could not be used for the prototype.
  • The project team received an elliptical donation from RSF by the end of the spring semester; this machine was used starting fall 2011 for the elliptical prototype.
  • Human Powered Gym was able to offer course credit up to 4 units to students for assistance with the project; this offer will be carried over into 2011-2012.
Fall 2011 - Spring 2012
    Recruited a new student intern to head the creation of an energy education campaign for the RSF.
    Created a team of 15 undergraduates who received course credit for their research work and documentation of meeting minutes, design review presentations, and final reports.
    Converted a stationary recumbent bicycle into a pedal powered laptop station - the team had some technical difficulties in its original design and had to make many modifications. The team also decided to purchase a discounted iPad rather than use a laptop to create a more interactive experience for an educational kiosk.
    The team began working in spring 2012 to convert a donated elliptical machine into a working prototype of an energy harnessing system. 
Fall 2012 - Spring 2013
    Prototype educational kiosk (pedal powered laptop) - Convert stationary recumbent bicycle into a pedal powered laptop station. The team fine tuned the casing and how to demonstrate the output power of the machine and the effectiveness of generating/saving energy as an educational opportunity for future display in the RSF.
    Prototype human power harnessing system - Convert elliptical machine into energy harnessing system. We completed putting together the parts, but still need to design proper casing for the parts.
    Test prototyped energy harnessing system and try to improve energy efficiency - Awaited the RSF's resources to transport the machine to the RSF in order to do testing, since the machine must be plugged into the grid to work/test.
    Prepare to retrofit 14 elliptical machines at the RSF with prototyped technology - Hoped to have 5 complete by end of the semester to present to the RSF.
    Work on energy education campaign for RSF and human power gym installation - Had two undergraduates work on the campaign. They sent out surveys and create apps for RSF user feedback on green exercise technology. Also were in the process of creating an app for RSF users to use to access usage. Coordinated efforts with the Pedal and Elliptical teams.
Fall 2013
    The Human Powered Gym team presented the project at Engineering for Kids Day, Cal Day, and at the 2013 CACS summit. The project had the ME110 and ME290H class groups work on a prototype for a user interface system for the machines.
    Human Powered Gym was mentioned in Ecopedia's May article "Human Powered Gyms Make Watts from Your Workout."
    Completed the first version of the elliptical and housing for the retrofit parts. The team is planning on building anaother, more finalized, housing design as the final design.
    Tested the energy harnessing system and calculated data. The team is not optimizing for efficiency.
    Currently awaiting RSF and Precor's approvals on the retrofit in order to progress with the project.
    Posters have been made by the education team with plans for collaborating with the RSF to display them. Posters readied to be printed to display in the RSF.
November 6, 2013
     - Project launches at RSF 


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Mission Statement

The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) provides funding for projects that reduce UC Berkeley's negative impact on the environment and make UC Berkeley more sustainable. TGIF will allocate funds to projects that promote sustainable modes of transportation, increase energy and water efficiency, restore habitat, promote environmental and food justice, and reduce the amount of waste created by UC Berkeley. Portions of the fund also support education and behavior change initiatives, student aid (via return to aid), and internships. TGIF is supported by student fees and administered through a student-majority committee and a program coordinator.