August 20, 2010

Eco Sexy Fantasy. ~ Jess Commins

Green Future: Sustainable Sex Prediction.

“An energy harvesting system underneath our mattress will be capturing our movements.”

I know we don’t know one another very well yet, but I feel compelled to share with you an eco-sexy fantasy I’ve been having lately. So as not to make anyone uncomfortable, we can call it my sustainable sex prediction for the new decade.

Imagine things are really getting hot when s/he pushes you down on the bed and, rather than ripping each other’s clothes off, you spend as much time as possible passionately moving together. Piece by piece, the clothes do come off, but not without a lot of motion, your bodies pulsating together in a symbiotic wave. Where it ends depends on your imagination…but the important and sexiest part of all has little to do with the grand finale.

While the two of you are lustfully engaged in your bed, an energy harvesting system underneath the mattress is capturing your movements, using that power to store electricity in battery packs for later use.

In some of my waterbed accessorized fantasies, the wave motion generates enough power for my bedroom electronics. This whole roller idea is way cooler.

Damn. Just writing that makes me feel like I need a smoke. Instead, I think I’ll give you the sexy science behind this fantasy.


I’ve been doing some reading lately on energy harvesting. In short, energy harvesting is a means of powering electronic devices wirelessly by scavenging low-grade energy sources like vibrations, heat, sunshine and human movement.

For example, by employing what is referred to as biomechanical energy, Bionic Power has developed a two-pound knee brace you can wear that will generate up to seven Watts of electricity, enough power to simultaneously operate 14 mobile phones. There are others that are smaller, but quite frankly the negligible amount of energy they’ll generate makes these little more than novelty items.

The problem is, getting these things on people doesn’t make for a comfortable fit…and my mind is in the gutter here. Distracting wearables isn’t something I really want to worry about.

Even more crucial, the power provided by an energy scavenging source depends on how long the source is in “operation.” If this is going to last, the power’s going to have to come via the bed.

This brought me to the Vibration Energy Scavenging Project, which is currently employing piezoelectric energy harvesting to develop self-powered microsystems that use converted energy from their external environment to recharge their energy storage. Since piezoelectric energy is produced by mechanical pressure and motion, like walking or dancing, I’m thinking we can go somewhere with this.

As has been publicized elsewhere, they’ve developed neat floor sensors that generate electricity through foot ad vehicle traffic. (If you haven’t seen this, check out POWERLeap ) Each stomp generates about enough electricity to power two 60-Watt bulbs for about a second. This won’t work for us for the same reason as the little armbands, they won’t draw enough power to make it worth the expense.

What needs to happen to generate a fair amount of power is to make it wicked fun to play on.What if the bed itself was standard platform style, only instead of having those wooden slats running across, our sustainable sex bed would have bars with rollers on them? Heck, we could recycle old roller skate wheels! Oh dang, this is getting cooler by the minute.

With rods covered in rollers, and a bottom add-on (sold to fit any mattress) that would make the bed slide back and forth with the human motion, we would build out the sides so we could put the wheels on casters to make it slide in any direction without risking the mattress flying off the frame.
The best part is that we could add an additional layer of ridging underneath that would allow the bed to stay in place at night, or become a vibrating bed when its owners were awake and moving.

One option would be to have magnets placed in the bottom add-on that would react to magnets in the wheels. This would be nice since, like piezoelectric systems, electromagnetic mechanisms don’t require a voltage source.

Another would be to focus purely on the vibration… I like this option better because I think vibrating beds are the bomb. In fact, I’d have mine special-made in a circle shape, which I’d immediately surround with velvet curtains and possibly a disco ball. Hell yeah.

See, if we’re going to go with a piezoelectric system, we can literally vibe off the bed to power our stuff. If this were really done using today’s technology and you practiced for about an hour every day on the bed, you’ll probably have enough to power your phone charger for the night and maybe give yourself some low-wattage lighting for late reading.

In my green fantasy, the power harvesting advances will not only make this bed generate enough for my home, but will talk to my fridge downstairs so it knows when I’m coming down for a drink and will have it waiting for me. While were at it, it will also power a robot to do my laundry and rub out my shoulder blade knots. Even better, the robot can massage me on my bed.

Now I really do want a smoke.

Jess Commins is a North Carolina—based energy professional who enjoys all things crafty, sustainable and gnome—related.  Although her work has helped businesses and municipalities save hundreds of thousands of dollars to date, she maintains it’s merely a karmic drop in the bucket for her obnoxious use of hairspray during her metal years.  Jess answers your most pressing energy—related questions on her blog, Renewabelle, and spends entirely too much time on Twitter.

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