I went to the midtown market on 9-17-06
When entering the building I see that it is a large one story rectangle with a line of shops around it’s perimeter with an inner core of vendors inside. A large central hallway runs from one end of the building to the other, and has smaller corridors branching out to connect the inner stores to the outer stores.
All of the signs and maps in the building are large and easy to read, making it simple for people who don’t know English where things like the restrooms and exits are. While the space is large and only one story, the lighting and arrangement of windows makes it feel much more open then it really is.
The midtown market seems to have pulled ideas for its general layout from many different cultures. It has the chaotic piles of products that you could see in a market in Beijing but has the long orderly hallways of a modern day super store in America.
When looking at how many people circulate through the midtown market and how they could have their energy harnessed I thought about a few different ideas.
-M.I.T is working on a Magnetic Generator System to be placed into consumer footwear that would basically generate power as you walk. The device works by using the force of you own foot to drive a small shaft down through 2 or more small electrical generators and then using a clutch and a speed up gearbox sending the piston around again to be ready for the next step. While the device is still in experimental stages it has been shown to generate small amounts of power, although it peaks only around each step as this is where the brunt of the energy is.
I don’t see why this couldn’t be simply switched around into the floor tiles of a busy market like midtown where people walk through and around it everyday. Every time someone steps on a particular floor panel it would drive the shaft down into the generators and collect some power. The idea is already being theorized for Time square in new York with some engineers saying that with refinement all the lights and digital displays could run off of this power.
-Another idea that could also work in conjunction with the floor panels is to replace all of the normal doors in the buildings with spinning doors that have a generator built-in and collect energy from the spinning motion of people entering and exiting the building.
While both of these idea’s wouldn’t generate power on a large scale at first they could with much modification be used to collect energy from every person who goes to the midtown market.