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May 8, 2009

Producing power by harnessing kinetic energy from human and animal movement is a great idea but one with few good results. Disco-ball lights powered by club-goers getting down on the dance floor is a fun concept but ultimately unsustainable—one can only do the Electric Slide for so long—and there are simply not enough hamsters in the world for those rodent-wheel-energy fantasies to be fulfilled. Recently, Swedish designer Karin Johansson approached the concept with a slightly new angle, generating light through a familiar activity: Spinning a globe.

The Dynamic Lamp (stationary) by Karin Johansson<br><br>"My Dynamic Lamp is a part of the wireless society," Johansson writes about her design. "It doesn't need any power supply or batteries; it just works with your own energy. It is based on the idea of
The Dynamic Lamp (stationary) by Karin Johansson"My Dynamic Lamp is a part of the wireless society," Johansson writes about her design. "It doesn't need any power supply or batteries; it just works with your own energy. It is based on the idea of producing your energy where you are, instead of transporting it in all directions across the earth. The sole by-product is exercise."Photo by Andreas Nyquist
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The Dynamic Lamp (in use) by Karin Johansson<br><br>"My Dynamic Lamp is a part of the wireless society," Johansson writes about her design. "It doesn't need any power supply or batteries; it just works with your own energy. It is based on the idea of prod
The Dynamic Lamp (in use) by Karin Johansson"My Dynamic Lamp is a part of the wireless society," Johansson writes about her design. "It doesn't need any power supply or batteries; it just works with your own energy. It is based on the idea of producing your energy where you are, instead of transporting it in all directions across the earth. The sole by-product is exercise."Photo by Andreas Nyquist
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Pyriform glasses and decanter by Andreas Dahlberg<br><br>Andreas Dahlberg based the design of his Pyriform glasses and decanter on the shape of birds' nests made by cliff-dwelling birds who lay their eggs on narrow ledges, which are often conical rather t
Pyriform glasses and decanter by Andreas DahlbergAndreas Dahlberg based the design of his Pyriform glasses and decanter on the shape of birds' nests made by cliff-dwelling birds who lay their eggs on narrow ledges, which are often conical rather than circular or spherical, Dahlberg writes about his design.Photo by Andreas Nyquist
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Lux necklace by Mae Yokoyama<br><br>Mae Yokoyama's necklace combines haute couture and high technology to highlight the benefits of solar energy. During the day, the solar panels create a bold collar necklace. At night, the energy accumulated during the d
Lux necklace by Mae YokoyamaMae Yokoyama's necklace combines haute couture and high technology to highlight the benefits of solar energy. During the day, the solar panels create a bold collar necklace. At night, the energy accumulated during the daytime illuminates small lights to create the effect of a string of pearls, Yokoyama writes about her design.Photo by Andreas Nyquist
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Lux necklace by Mae Yokoyama<br><br>Mae Yokoyama's necklace combines haute couture and high technology to highlight the benefits of solar energy. During the day, the solar panels create a bold collar necklace. At night, the energy accumulated during the d
Lux necklace by Mae YokoyamaMae Yokoyama's necklace combines haute couture and high technology to highlight the benefits of solar energy. During the day, the solar panels create a bold collar necklace. At night, the energy accumulated during the daytime illuminates small lights to create the effect of a string of pearls, Yokoyama writes about her design.Photo by Andreas Nyquist
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Look Around-Loosen Up vase by Stine Mærkli<br><br>Mærkli's vase is an example of her work investigating body language, gestures, and movement in glass design. The Look Around-Loosen Up vase consists of stiff and mobile sections that reflect "a direct tran
Look Around-Loosen Up vase by Stine MærkliMærkli's vase is an example of her work investigating body language, gestures, and movement in glass design. The Look Around-Loosen Up vase consists of stiff and mobile sections that reflect "a direct transfer of body movements to functional objects," she writes about her design.Photo by Andreas Nyquist
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Expandable Living chair by Knud Brandt and Jens Gustavsson<br><br>"Stockholm is said to be the city with the highest percentage of single person households in the world—many of them are students. As a student, you often have a great circle of friends but
Expandable Living chair by Knud Brandt and Jens Gustavsson"Stockholm is said to be the city with the highest percentage of single person households in the world—many of them are students. As a student, you often have a great circle of friends but less square meters to invite them to," Gustavsson writes about his design. "This is a one-man chair for a one-man household that can expand to be a bench for ten friends."Photo by Andreas Nyquist
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Expandable Living bench by Knud Brandt and Jens Gustavsson<br><br>"Stockholm is said to be the city with the highest percentage of single person households in the world—many of them are students. As a student, you often have a great circle of friends but
Expandable Living bench by Knud Brandt and Jens Gustavsson"Stockholm is said to be the city with the highest percentage of single person households in the world—many of them are students. As a student, you often have a great circle of friends but less square meters to invite them to," Gustavsson writes about his design. "This is a one-man chair for a one-man household that can expand to be a bench for ten friends."Photo by Andreas Nyquist
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The Dynamic Lamp (stationary) by Karin Johansson<br><br>"My Dynamic Lamp is a part of the wireless society," Johansson writes about her design. "It doesn't need any power supply or batteries; it just works with your own energy. It is based on the idea of
The Dynamic Lamp (stationary) by Karin Johansson"My Dynamic Lamp is a part of the wireless society," Johansson writes about her design. "It doesn't need any power supply or batteries; it just works with your own energy. It is based on the idea of producing your energy where you are, instead of transporting it in all directions across the earth. The sole by-product is exercise."Photo by Andreas Nyquist

Johansson's Dynamic Lamp comprises a globe stand, a semi-opaque white sphere that looks like a blank canvas for a world map, a dynamo affixed inside the sphere, and a light bulb. When one spins the sphere, the dynamo (which is essentially a mechanically-powered electric generator like what you find in hand-crank radios or flashlights) turns the human power into electricity, which turns on the light. When the sphere, and thus the dynamo, stop spinning, the lamp turns off.

Though far from perfect—a single spin illuminates the lamp for slightly less than 30 seconds (click here to watch a video of the lamp in action)—the design adds to the ideas about and possible solutions for turning human kinetic energy into electrical power and reducing our demands on fossil fuels. The Dynamic Lamp also makes a statement: “It looks like a globe of the Earth so it moves you to think about how today’s energy issues are a global problem,” Johansson says. She also enjoys the more whimsical aspect of the design: “It’s like a fairy tale,” she says. “It’s almost like putting fireflies in a jar to make a lamp.”

Johansson is a student at Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts, and Design’s InSpace interior architecture and furniture design program, from which she graduates this spring. She created the Dynamic Lamp for her master’s thesis project, and though it is not currently being produced, she is looking for a manufacturer. Her lamp, as well as work by over 50 other master’s students throughout the university, will be exhibited at the school, in Stockholm, May 12-24.

Click the “View Slideshow” button at the upper right-hand corner of this post to see a selection of the projects that will be on display and visit konstfack.info for more about the school and exhibition.

The Dynamic Lamp (in use) by Karin Johansson<br><br>"My Dynamic Lamp is a part of the wireless society," Johansson writes about her design. "It doesn't need any power supply or batteries; it just works with your own energy. It is based on the idea of prod
The Dynamic Lamp (in use) by Karin Johansson"My Dynamic Lamp is a part of the wireless society," Johansson writes about her design. "It doesn't need any power supply or batteries; it just works with your own energy. It is based on the idea of producing your energy where you are, instead of transporting it in all directions across the earth. The sole by-product is exercise."Photo by Andreas Nyquist
 

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