City officials in New York occasionally have to remind us residents that while tourists are occasionally irritating, they are an important source of revenue for our city and should be treated like guests.
Designer Taikkun Li is taking that a step further, and treating tourists like an energy source with his Prayer Wheel Energy Generator, envisioned for Tibet:
Tourists traditionally spin a multitude of prayer wheels in Tibet. Now that positive energy can be harvested along Tibetan streets, turned into electricity, and used to provide evening lighting along those streets and inside the adjacent homes.
The prayer wheel generator is built on a base of used bicycle parts and a discarded surplus fan motor, making it ideal for use in the developing world. This invention supplements an inadequate and unreliable electrical grid with the power of electricity generated by tourism. By combining the low-cost efficiency and long life of 21st century LED lighting, with the simple 20th century efficiency of a bicycle, the Prayer Wheel Generator uses the best of high and low technologies.
I do my part to help NYC tourists by giving out unsolicited directions; at least twice a week I orient a map-studying pack of peeps. But if they were somehow making a dent in my Con Ed bill, heck, I'd cook 'em dinner.