Human Powered Toaster

2023 SS

“Human Powered Toaster” attempted to power a toaster with human strength. The experiment started with Florian’s interest in learning more about how much electricity we actually use for some of our most mundane, everyday tasks.

Florian started by wanting to make it easier to understand what numbers like 100 watts actually mean. This can be achieved by translating electric power into more relatable physical quantities like distance and weight.

To demonstrate this Florian chose to use human strength as a stand in for electric power. He asked ‘Can human strength alone power a toaster?’ Since this task is extremely difficult with a conventional toaster, Florian had to build a toaster from scratch! He decided to build a toaster which uses only 10% of the energy. After several experiments and failures, Florian managed to build his improved toaster that is powered by a heavy weight connected to a dynamo by a rope and a spindle. This combination of components converts the potential energy of aweight falling down into usable electric energy.

The project shows that it would be necessary to throw a weight of 10 kg down 300m or a weight of 100 kg down 30m in order to have enough energy to toast one toast.

Students

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