Concept Narrative

So, I'm not sure how to lay this over my Venn or mind map, but I'll try to make this work textually.

My idea is called Pleech. It is a device that will generate power, via magnetic induction, from mechanical moving parts, similar to how some bicycle power generators work.

It is designed for activists, hacktivists, graffiti artists, and others interested in installing low power electrical work in areas without access to grid power or easy change of batteries. The Pleech will be left in place for as long as it is allowed to exist, and the public is welcome to plug in their own work into it once it is encountered.

The Pleech is designed to generate electricity by combining magnets placed on moving parts with a free moving magnet on the Pleech itself that generates electricity by inducing current in a copper coil. The attached magnets will spin the free magnet through their motion.

This project will explore the basics of energy generation, but with a different source of power involved. More importantly, this is an experiment with "parasitic" technology, one that allows the public to draw more resources out of the infrastructure around them, especially if the source does not benefit people directly or is generally wasteful or energy. For example, a steel cooling fan that runs regardless of whether there is anyone to cool could supply power to a guerrilla pollution sensor that broadcasts with the ZigBee or Bluetooth protocols.

People should respond to the environmental impact or reusing and repurposing raw energy to serve an improved or entirely new purpose. Beyond making a single product more efficient, it makes the perhaps inherently inefficient systems work in ways that harvest their energy into something more sustainable.

People might see this work appear on fans in the subway, HVAC fan outlets, inside the wheels of cars (think of a Pleech-powered lojack,) or in playground or amusement park equipment.

Pleechs should be simple to construct with simple and widely available parts. Instructions should be posted on the Internet for how to create them quickly and cheaply, so they should hopefully appear in many locations spontaneously or as needs arise. Pleechs should also be simple and hearty enough to survive as devices so long as they go unnoticed and unmolested by authorities or property owners.

Hopefully, these devices could run useful or beautiful low-power devices without additional environmental impact. It could make a big difference in the work of artists who design for interactive architecture, locative media, etc., as well as activists who may need electronics in place for protests, demonstrations, interventions, or other public performances.

Copyright Mike Edwards 2006-2009. All content available under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license, unless otherwise noted.