Monday, January 30, 2012

The Human Powered Home

After leaving Maya Pedal, i knew that i wanted to continue learning about, and building, pedal powered machines. I had a ton of questions about basic physics, gear ratios, efficiency, drive systems, welding, jigs, etc. but with no straightforward or simple way to answer them. I remember thinking out loud to myself "i wish there was a book that was all about this stuff, full of everything that i want to know. " And as fortune would have it, there is such a book- Tamara Dean's "The Human Powered Home."

Dean's book covers all of the basics, and answered almost all of my questions, in an approachable and concise way. She employs the use of graphs and illustrations to make clear any number of concepts from the science of muscle activity to the comparative advantages of different drive systems. The book is full of, not only explorations into human powered projects, but also easy to follow DIY instructions on several machines. Dean does a terrific job of weaving together the history of human power, its current uses, the physics behind it, and a how-to manual all into one.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in human powered machines, especially those who don't have a science background, and definitely anyone who wants to start building machines. It was the perfect follow up to three months at Maya Pedal.

The Human Powered Home can be purchased online at all the normal places, or on Dean's website (which is worth checking out anyway) at:

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