"Speed Bump" Does More Than Slow You Down

Energy-creating device can power a hair dryer, sort-of

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    NBC Philadelphia
    As cars slow down to go over the bump, the weight of the car causes a chain reaction inside the device, which creates 2,000 watts of electricity.

    A fast food drive-thru lane might end up helping make the world a greener place, if not exactly skinnier.

    As customers pull up to the pickup window at a Hillside, NJ Burger King, they'll drive over a device that looks suspiciously like a speed bump. 

    Except it's an energy-creating device that's also coming to the Four Seasons in D.C. and the Holiday Inn Express in Baltimore.

    As cars slow down to go over the bump, the weight of the car presses down on long pedals across the top of it, which turns the gears inside and creates 2,000 watts of electricity. 

    Since drivers need to slow down and stop at the pickup window anyway, the "Motion Power Energy Harvester" captures the kinetic energy that would normally be lost  then -- i.e., no one's making money off of you when you go through the drive-thru.  

    The amount of electricity created is enough to fuel a typical hair dryer -- but only for a second, according to Gerard J. Lynch, the president of the Springfield, Md., company that created the device.

    Sigma Design hopes to have its MotionPower technology ready sometime next year.