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5 Human-Powered Transportation Devices (think way beyond bikes, skateboards, and rollerblades).

Yea, teleportation would be freaking suh-weeeeet. No more waiting in traffic, at bus stops, airport terminals… you get the idea. But until that glorious day when Scotty can beam me up, humans will continue to invent ridiculous ways of getting themselves places. Whether it’s in subways, over water, or through the air, Icarus and Daedalus have got nothing on these folks.

Alternate energy for public transportation

Do they have shoes with this stuff in the bottom? Ooo, they could charge my cell phone battery. Inventor challenge: ON!

1. Use foot traffic to fuel subways: Ever wished that all that walking went toward something useful, besides burning off dessert? Geez, the energy crisis would be solved! (Well. . . maybe.) Tokyo subways stations are the busiest in the world, so the Japanese government has installed 25 square meters of piezoelectric floor tiles in front of turnstiles in two of its stations. Basically, when people step on them, the tiles absorb and store the vibrations, then that energy can be used to run the subway. WhooOOooaaa. Arigato, Japan, for rocking technological innovation…again. (For more info, check out’s blog post on global innovations on public transportation.)

2. Meet “The Shweeb,” or the Human-Powered Monorail: Soo…awkward name aside, this looks like the transportation version of the 2 cans + wire = backyard telephone. Looking for that rush of secret escape, unbeknownst to your guardians? Can’t wait to suck your bf or gf’s face until tomorrow during locker break? Get the Shweeb! (Seriously, marketing team, seriously?) Extra stealth points: round up some magic pants, a lot of digging utensils, and Steve McQueen, and you’ll be on your way to engineering your own Great Hurtling Capsule of Underground Freedom. Yea, Harriet Tubman is retroactively jealous.

personal transportation

They are SO stoked to be stuck in a plexiglass tube!!

3. Jonathan Mahieddine’s “Solar Cum Human Powered Concept Boat“: (For the record, I wasn’t looking for transportation methods with weird names, I just lucked out ;D.) Anyway, this boat is a combo of solar- and pedal-powered recreational goodness. Get some exercise, get some sun, and watch out for big waves. Family and prerequisite bodily fluids not included.

Cool solar powered inventions boats

“Pedal to the medal, honey!”

4. Aquaskipper, the Human-Powered Hydrofoil: This sweet invention seems to be part pogo-stick, part tricycle-on-water. If you live in a city on the water, or have ever harbored a desire to be a Jesus bug, this is the toy for you. You stand on the back, and then you hop to generate momentum and skim along the water. Pretty cool, huh? A giant red wetsuit is not required for operation; these guys are just having way too much fun. It looks like a lot of effort, but think of all the outtake reels! Actually, you don’t even have to imagine them, check ’em out on YouTube.

Hop on water

Hey there, Scuba Steve. We’ve missed you.

5. And now, for the grand finale: The World’s First Human-Powered Ornithopter. Think Orville Bros., but with bird-like wing action. Yup, for reals. And alright, it’s not a long flight or even really a viable ‘transportation method.’ But the fact that a team of students from the University of Toronto were able to a turn a human into a giant bird, even for a few seconds, is AWESOME. Watch the construction and flight here:

Whoa. Maybe there is hope for teleportation…

Which one was your favorite? Would any of these actually work? Or maybe you have your own crazy concept lurking in the depths… bust it OUT in the comments, homeslice!!

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(Photocredits, top to bottom:,,,, YouTube)


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