By Ariana Marshall
Faculty Member, School of STEM, American Public University
According to Albert Einstein, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” But if you ask any athlete, practicing the same movements over and over improves performance.
Repetitive Exercise Builds Muscle and Brain Strength
Whether physical repetition strengthens muscle memory or builds confidence, as learning theorist Zane Claes suggests, physical exercise brings results. Sometimes we need to change. Other times, we need to learn from the differences in experimentation.
What if we could combine the experimentation of science with the muscle memory stimulation of physical movement to remind ourselves about the power of learning? We could then create a pathway to experiment with and learn from all kinds of emerging technologies that appeal to our bodily-kinesthetic intelligence.
How Movement Helps Us Learn
Some of us learn best by doing. Those who do prefer to use their hands and bodies rather than reading, visualizing or listening. This means that although you can use other modes of learning, you are willing to spend more time on learning through movement. If this rings true for you, then you are primarily a kinesthetic learner. Kinesthetic learners are more efficient when they participate in physical activities like science experiments, sports or even dancing.
As a kinesthetic learner, you may lean more towards tactile learning than bodily learning. Tactile learners prefer to use touch, rather than by body movement. When kinesthetic learners must learn by listening or reading, they often like to move something with their hands to satisfy their tactile instincts.
Kinesthetic Learning Appeals to Everybody
With the added benefits of physical movement such as exercise, kinesthetic learning appeals not only to those to whom it comes naturally but also to anyone looking for ways to improve their intelligence. If we also see results in how our body changes with exercise, we have another positive reinforcement from kinesthetic learning.
Businesses Can Prosper from Kinesthetic Movement
Kinesthetic learning also helps businesses. Well-known brands use kinesthetic learning, sometimes called interactive experiences, to popularize their products and to provide feedback on how their target audiences react. The technology provides market data on consumer preferences and habits.
Most technologies are dependent on electric power to operate. So it makes financial sense that technologies developed with kinesthetic learning in mind are linked to renewable energy, specifically kinetic energy.
Kinesthetic learners can take their learning through movement to another level, using emerging technologies to harness kinetic energy.
Emerging Kinetic Energy Technologies Are Next Level of Learning
The cost of emerging technologies, especially those tied to renewable energy, is often prohibitively high. However, more democratized and interactive learning experiences can reduce these high costs. Democratization means that when brands that benefit from visual marketing sponsor emerging technologies, more kinesthetic learners will have access to learning experiences.
The utility and effectiveness of interactive technologies will be validated by simply participating in demonstration events. When this technology mobilizes us to tackle health issues and generate electricity, we have a win-win situation.
Indeed, this is already happening. A New York company, Uncharted Play, created two products that generate hours of electricity when they are used for exercise. One product, the SOCCKET soccer ball, has an internal microgenerator that captures rotational energy through a microgenerator, which charges a lithium battery. The generator is capable of storing sufficient energy to charge a smartphone or light up a lamp attached to the ball.
Another product, the PULSE, is a jump rope with components that are also capable of generating power. One hour of jumping rope results in 12 hours of light.
The main goal of this technology is to promote physical activity and increase energy awareness. Soccer players are some of the fittest athletes, running the equivalent of six miles per match. So kicking a soccer ball has spin-off fitness benefits as well.
Harnessing Exercise Equipment to Provide Power
From treadmills to exercise bikes, our movements can be converted into power for our phones, lights, computers and televisions. The Free Electric Hybrid Bike is an exercise bike with a flywheel that converts one hour of pedaling into enough energy to power a rural household for 24 hours.
A Florida gym, ReRev, is using kinesthetic energy as an electrical power source. To bypass the cost barriers and expense of buying new equipment, ReRev retrofits gyms to convert mechanical energy to help power the gym’s electricity needs. One person’s 30-minute workout can generate 50 watt-hours of electricity.
Converting Movement on Dance Floors to Electrical Energy
We all know that getting to the gym takes commitment. With the responsibilities of family, work and other distractions, gym time doesn’t always happen. But one thing that gets most of us moving is music.
The Energy Floors company, based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, developed an energy floor and visualization energy plug-ins to amplify the effects of movement. This sustainable dance floor is already in use throughout the world in sidewalks, marathons and football fields. When dancers shift their weight on the energy floor, a microgenerator converts mechanical energy to 35 watts of sustained output per floor tile (approximately 2.4 feet squared).
The energy floor can be used in combination with other forms of renewable energy to power lights, phones, laptops and other devices. The amount of power generated depends on the number of tiles and how many people are dancing.
Kinetics, whether used for learning or to convert movement to electrical power, can be used for a variety of real-world applications. Most promising of these applications is the increased awareness of renewable energy and mass appeal of kinetic energy technology because everyone moves. It remains to be seen how other innovative inventors will find ways to convert our kinetic energy to create sustainable power sources.
[see also: Why We Have to Promote Renewable Energy.]
The mass appeal and consumer engagement of kinetic energy technology makes this type of innovation a renewable energy industry catalyst through interactive education. No other form of renewable energy has the potential to be used in a hands-on (and feet-on) way in our everyday experiences for the benefit of informing our future energy decisions.
Kinetic energy technology has the potential to mobilize the masses to make decisions which are informed by their own energy experience. This could be the key to the level of public buy-in required to drive down the cost of adoption of all technologies required to shape a 100% renewable energy future.
About the Author
Dr. Ariana Marshall is a faculty member with the School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math at American Public University. She is the Director for the Caribbean Sustainability Collective and focuses on culturally relevant sustainability and climate change adaptation. Ariana completed her doctorate in environmental science and risk management at FAMU.