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The East Japan Railway Company (JR-East), as part of research aimed at developing more environmentally friendly train stations, is testing an experimental system that produces electricity as people pass through ticket gates. I believe this is a tremendous breakthrough in the quest for finding environmentally friendly train energy sources. The project claims that this sort of human-powered electricity generation system may provide a portion of the electricity consumed at train stations in the future.

The ticket gate electricity generation system relies on a series of piezo elements embedded in the floor under the ticket gates, which generate electricity from the pressure and vibration they receive as people step on them. When combined with high-efficiency storage systems, the ticket gate generators can serve as a clean source of supplementary power for the train stations. Busy train stations (and those with large numbers of passengers willing to bounce heavily through the gates) will be able to accumulate a relatively large amount of electricity.

JR-East, who worked with Keio University to develop the system, claims that in addition to being put to use as an independent power supply that does not require hardwiring, the system can also be used as a way of measuring the traffic flow through ticket gates.

Fig: Passengers on the making of energy!!

The system is being tested at the JR-East head office in Shibuya, where it is installed at the entrance to the reception area on the 4th floor. As visitors pass through the gate, a lamp lights up, signifying that electricity has been produced.  And at that time you and I feel that we have really contributed environmentally friendly fuel to the next trip we take to school or whrever!!

NB: I also came across many sites on environmentally friendly ways of generating energy. I recommend ” Energy Generating Dance Floors”  here

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The area of Artificial Intelligence (AI), using computers to imitate, and maybe someday replace, human beings, has been an important part of computer science since its beginning .In the program that I am studying ( intelligent Systems Design) we take up basic level and advanced courses in Artificial Intelligence where we take up issues on software for intelligent systems, both from the “classical” and  “biologically inspired” points of views. But these courses alone would remain to be mere talks on the “virtual soul” if one didn’t know the basics of hardware (the flesh) for these intelligent products/ agents and the orthodox that lies therein. I believe I should have the glimpses of technologies including sensors, actuators, and the electronic and computational elements that enable and control their behavior in real time. And for that no other course comes to the rescue than Physical Computing which raises the facts of the matter both from the theoretical and design points of views. After the course I believe I will have a firm understanding about bridging the connection between the physical and computer (virtual World). The course would add incentives on how to develop prototypes placing me on a firm ground while understanding intelligent materials and their design potentials.

Markos K




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