Charge your phone using pedal power with the K-TOR Power Box

K-TOR has added a new portable charging device to its lineup. The new Power Box puts your legs to work toward converting kinetic energy to electricity. Use it enough and you might just get your weekly workout. It is quite simply a pedal-powered generator equipped with a dual-pronged outlet so that you can plug in an AC adapter and charge your device directly from your leg power. The box works for devices rated 20W and below, including low-power netbooks, tablets, smartphones, video devices and portable game systems.



How To Build Your Own Pedal-Powered Bike Generator

If you were a puzzle fan in your childhood or if you simply love building things, you now have the chance to make a most surprising combination: a power-generating exercise bike out of a washing machine. So you get a double effect from a work-out: great legs and power for your house!

A regular routine will get you support for, let’s say, a 50W consumer and a 21” monitor. You basically need a washing machine motor and an old bicycle as basic parts, but also a bridge rectifier, an old UPS and a battery, a 20-gauge wire angle, soldering iron and a cheap multimeter. A soldering and a welding setup will definitely come in handy and don’t forget to bring in an angle grinder with cutoff wheels.



How to convert an exercise bike into an electricity generating bike

So you pedal an exercise bike at home. That is a good cardio-vascular workout, besides making you feel less guilty about the portion of fries you ate with your burger last evening. Many exercise bikes come with attachments to read your heart rate and and display the calories burnt. The muscular effort is used in overcoming friction in the bike drive and is dissipated as heat. Instead of wasting the the muscular energy as heat, it is possible to convert it into electricity as your contribution to the cause of green energy. The electricity generated will be in the 50 watts to 300 watts range, enough to light a bulb , run a fan or power your laptop but won’t make a significant difference to your utility bill. It is an easy do-it-yourself gadget and is good for a few bragging points with your friends and neighbors.




New machine speeds up process for volunteers

By Stephane Massinon, Calgary Herald

Volunteers waiting for criminal background checks to get approved got good news Wednesday from police, who said they are working through the backlog clogging the system.

But the executive director of Volunteer Alberta says the change is happening too slowly.

Last year, the federal government stipulated that volunteers who work with children or the elderly would have to submit fingerprints as part of criminal background checks if their birthdates and gender match those of a known sex offender.

The idea was to provide an extra measure of security against sex offenders who changed their names and wanted to volunteer to work with kids.

The rule change created a backlog as thousands of people waited for months to get their background checks approved.

In March, Calgary police started using a Live Scan machine to take electronic fingerprints to speed up the process. In June, the CPS will get a second machine.

Calgary Minor Soccer Association executive director Daryl Leinweber said his organization does the second most criminal background searches in Calgary per year, sending over 2,000 background checks to authorities.

“About one-third come back with regard to something on them. That’s an awful lot of people to send down for fingerprinting. That’s why it was really important with regards to the new process and electronic filing,” said Leinweber.

“It looks like now the process is only going to take a couple weeks compared to where it was taking upwards of three months, four months, so that’s awesome.”

The soccer season has already begun, yet over 100 people who want to volunteer are still waiting for their background checks to clear, he said.

Calgary police Chief Rick Hanson, speaking at a news conference about vulnerablesector police checks, as they are called, said the force is working on reducing the backlog and hopes to one day have machines at district offices to do more searches.

“It was a major issue. We’ve since really eaten into the backlog and cut into the time that’s required to complete these and we’re down to about two weeks now,” said Hanson.

Karen Lynch, executive director of Volunteer Alberta, said getting more Live Scan machines is a start, but police also need more people to work them.

“It’s not a question of more machines, although that’s going to be helpful. Machines don’t operate by themselves, you need to have more staff, and that’s been the challenge all along.”

She said police in Edmonton have more staff and do more than double the searches than Calgary can per day.

Hanson also noted that even with security checks, parents should still speak with their children about sexual abuse.

“Unfortunately, people believe that once a security check is done, they don’t have to be vigilant. I’m here to tell you that these vulnerable-sector checks will only identify those that have been convicted. There are still individuals who are out there that are predators that have not been caught yet,” said Hanson.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews was in Calgary to announce that 29 police forces across the country are now working with RCMP and their real-time identification system to lessen the wait times.

“These changes made sure offenders can no longer hide their past sexual offences by simply changing their names,” said Toews.