Defining and describing human-powered products: Exploring diverse applications of future technology

Paul Johnson, Hyunjae Shin, Luke Harmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The research has monitored both real time and concepts of human-powered products (HPP) ranging from conscious user interaction and fun concepts, to parasitic harvesting concepts. These 'products' have been characterised and mapped onto an 'Interaction Map' which is defined and described by two intersecting dimensions: one is defined by a sub/conscious user interaction and the other is defined by the mechanism of the product. This paper presents the results of a case study conducted with first year product design undergraduate students at Nottingham Trent University in January 2011. Students were briefed to select an electronic product and (re)design it into an interactive 'off the grid product', where its functional power is not being supplied by neither the power grid nor any kind of technology driven power units such as photovoltaic power cells. The results produced a comparative analysis, mapping student project concepts against results from real time HPP monitoring of existing products. Many HPP concepts arose from this study, and the design approach highlighted potential applications of human-power systems, more specific form of engineering requirements, as well as insight into further potential future technological approaches for HPP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-192
Number of pages6
JournalKey Engineering Materials
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jul 27

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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