Human energy to power a ferry


Human energy as a method of propulsion is taken to the next level with this eco-design from Carlo Ratti Associati.

Gym of the future, or sight seeing of the future?

French city Paris is known for being a pedestrian-friendly city. While traffic congestion has increased, the capital includes a number of pedestrian-friendly areas that are car-free.

According to renowned Italian architect Carlo Ratti, this can be taken even further. Walking throughout the city is commonplace, almost considered a quintessential pastime of the Parrisian dweller. How might this evolve in the future?

“What if tomorrow we can start to stroll on the river itself?”

asks Ratti.

Paris Navigating Gym’s floating fitness center proposal gives Ratti’s abstract idea some tangible substance. Initiated by his architectural firm, Carlo Ratti Associati, alongside fitness manufacturing company Technogym have put their heads together to see how they can make it a reality. It will navigate the Seine with the help of human energy.  

The human powered ferry

“It’s fascinating to see how the energy generated by a workout at the gym can actually help to propel a boat.”

Carlo Ratti

The exhibit gives one a real-life experience of what lies behind the mostly abstract notion of electric power. Exercise enthusiasts will also enjoy this prospect of escape.

This fitness vessel will measure 20 metres in length and can accommodate up to 45 people at once.  It will feature a distinct series of bike based fitness equipment from Technogym. The boat is aiming to be fashioned after the Bateaux Mouches ferry boats. From the early 20th century, visitors have been transported along the river by these boats. The transparent glass bubble design is both modern and nostalgic.

Human powered ferry

An Augmented Reality screen will display real-time information to the gym enthusiasts inside. Additionally, it will allow those using the ferry’s facilities to keep track of their energy data and the outdoor conditions.

The exercise equipment on board the vessel would be connected to an inverter that would convert the energy generated by the participants into utility-grade electricity. A boat’s mechanics would be powered via this electricity, which would provide power for propulsion. Additional energy creation methods, such as harnessing shadows to create energy, or solar paint, may support such a concept.

Human Power Production

While a precise date for the gym’s launch is unknown, early studies suggest that new facilities can be operational in less than one year. It would include its design, construction, and testing. Its construction will strengthen the French capital’s long history of promoting sustainability.

Let’s just hope that all the floating gym goers are actually putting an effort in. Would be a shame to get stranded out there mid-river.