Whether dozing in front of the big screen TV or being stuck in front of a computer all day at work, our tech-filled lives are not exactly conducive to the kind of physical exercise our bodies need to stay healthy. Belgium's We-Watt has come up with a stylish way to get some sweat-free, easy-going exercise while at work, rest or play. The WeBike is a round table with three seats positioned at thirds. Those seated at the table generate electricity by pedaling away at an easy pace, simultaneously getting some much-needed light exercise and juicing up mobile gadgetry in the process.
A report recently commissioned by the European Parliament highlighted the dangers associated with physical inactivity in the workplace – coronary heart disease, type II diabetes and certain forms of cancer as well as the many health issues linked to obesity, to name a few. Among the recommendations put forward to stem the decline in physical fitness in today's sedentary workforce is the integration of exercise programs into the daily work routines of employees.
We-Watt quotes another study by the Dutch research organization TNO, which found that gentle cycling (at about a third of maximum cycling capabilities) had a positive effect on work performance – speed reading improved by 30 percent, time management was better and mental faculties were sharper.
Rather than getting all sweaty in the gym or putting yourself at the mercy of inconsiderate drivers when clocking up a few miles on the bike at lunchtime, perhaps you could stop off at a WeBike pedal-to-power pod instead.
The standard WeBike arrangement consists of three seats around a circular table, each with its own set of pedals that convert gentle cycling action into electricity. The main body of the unit is made from aluminum and steel, with reclaimed cedar wood adding some natural design appeal. The table top is made from high pressure laminate from Trespa. There's an interactive LED ring display in front of each seat, which indicates the amount of human power being generated and the available AC power for charging devices.
We-Watt says that the system can generate around 230Vac/30Watts of output per seat. While not really about working up a sweat, the more pedal power a user produces, the more LEDs will light up to indicate more available electricity for the gadgets we just can't be without.
The WeBike setup can also be supplied with individual units positioned in a straight line, against a wall perhaps, or in a curvy snake arrangement. Units have recently been installed at the Cameleon Shopping Mall and the ECKi restaurant in Brussels, Belgium and the company told us that pods will shortly be making their mark at Brussels Airport.
Manufactured in Flanders and currently having a two- to five-month production window, WeBike pods can be purchased for €9,950 (US$13,154) each, although the company does also operate rental schemes.