OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

B~Energy

The new way of living the gym experience: generate energy, donate it, get discounts at the gym, level up and train for a different reason.

Photo of B-Energy Build the future
33 12

Written by

Who is the target audience for your idea and how does it inspire the end user to lead a healthier life?

This idea is aimed to tackle the problem that most of the people face when needing or wishing to have a healthier life: Motivation. It seems that all the benefits related to being healthy are not the right reasons to motivate most of users to workout. So we intent to add a different reason to exercise , that is contributing to the future by generating renewable and clean energy while training.



Image title
Image title
Image title
Image title
Image title




What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

We did a Wizard of Oz Prototype. We tricked user to believe that the entire prototyped was functional, to get observe their reaction to the experience. User Quotes: “I do feel that I was motivated to do exercise, because is not exercising for simply working-out, but because you know it has a more important reason” “Not only to come here (gym) to burn some fat, but to generate energy” “It is not only the objective of feeling good with myself, do it for me; but also for helping a cause"

What skills, input or guidance are you keen to connect with from the OpenIDEO community to help you build out or refine your idea?

We appreciate and welcome any question or opinion about the idea. Would you use it? Why? Do you think it will encourage you to start or workout harder? What do your friend think about it? The ones that do not train? And the ones that do? How do you think we can encourage non-gym users to start going to the gym? Have you seen something similar? Any device or existing technology that we could use? What other feature will you like to add to the BE App? Any questions?

This idea emerged from

  • An OpenIDEO meetup

Does your idea currently have an Indiegogo campaign drafted?

  • Yes

Evaluation results

16 evaluations so far

1. Can you see this idea fitting into your daily life?

Yes, I think so - 56.3%

I'm not sure - 18.8%

No, I don't think so - 25%

2. Do you think this idea will help people lead healthier lives?

Yes, I think so - 75%

I'm not sure - 18.8%

No, I don't think so - 6.3%

33 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Davis Carlos
Team

Hello Everyone, do you want to fix your credit? do you intend to perform a total repair of your credit report? I know a credit repair organization that can handle it perfectly without issues, and that is SKY CREDIT SOLUTION, there job is fast and 100% legit. the Judgement, eviction, and bankruptcy on my credit report was removed, they even cleared my credit card debts within 6 days, they really helped me and I owe them gratitude and a very good review. I give them a 5star rating for their services. (SKYCREDITSOLUTION247@GMAIL.COM or Text (620) 399 6316) that’s how to reach them. I insist you go for the best

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi BeEnergy Team!
I shared your idea with a grandfather. He thought it was great, really smart and might work as you intend here. Have you considered seniors as a possible target group? Older adults are concerned about their families and the future. Can your Idea motivate this group to exercise if they are not already doing so? Maybe they inspire others in the family?

Photo of Paricha Duangtaweesub
Team

Hi team! Congrats on making it to the next stage! I recently participated in the Renewable Energy Challenge myself, it's good to see the idea grow! The OpenIDEO team recommended that I reach out to you to share my perspective and help your team along the process in any way I can.

I love the level of detail in your product details and user interaction - you guys have definitely given those a lot of thought. The prototype was really well-done and candid and I think that you have a lot of materials to work with from the feedback there.

I would totally use B~Energy because of the cool factor and knowing that I'm working out AND working towards a cause. I wonder, on the technical side, can you integrate the user experience even more to their regular gym experience? That way, a choice to go to a "B~Energy-certified" gym is a pro-social choice and they can view results afterwards. I think this could empower your users and help community.

I look forward to hearing the technical details - as Chris pointed out in his comments the scale of energy you make can affect your business model. The aggregation of energy is a big deal and one way to achieve that is to create some kind of cultural phenomenon or branding around B~Energy. Here's a video of a pop-up gym you could think about...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GimoLDYI_JE

Thanks for inspiring us and I hope you Indiegogo campaign goes well! Feel free to reach out to me anytime.

Photo of David Min
Team

I think this is a great idea. Apart from being environmentally friendly, I can see this simply as a tool to encourage people to be more involved in the "gym community". My local gym had some challenges/competitions, e.g. how far can you jump, and had been well received, as it was a bit of fun and a bit of engagement. Having data collected for how much energy you generated seems like a great idea to engage the gym-goer and keep them coming back. I can imagine people forming teams at the gym to achieve trophies together completing challenges, kind of like how Clans work in Clash of Clans. Immediately you have a measurable goal to reach, which will help you towards getting a healthier life, and also a support network that keeps you going. Lot's of potential to this effort to modernise and tech up the gym!

Photo of Chris Lee
Team

An article on this idea from Treehugger in 2008 (http://www.treehugger.com/cars/more-gyms-are-tapping-into-pedaling-for-powerand-also-for-profit.html).
It's not a huge amount of energy ("bank of four interconnected bikes can get about 200 watts per hour") - 0.05 kW per person or about 20 people pedaling to give 1 kW of power. But I agree that using energy generated (power * time) is a good way to keep score and gamify the activity to motivate healthier activity levels.
Maybe flip things a bit and focus on energy savings to make the exerciser feel better: you just pedaled 6 miles. That burned 240 calories. If you had made that trip by car it would have used 1/5 gal of gas. You just got 600 mpg and prevented 4 lbs of CO2! (http://cursoryknowledge.blogspot.com/2010/08/biking-to-work-and-energy-efficiency.html)

Photo of Jon Cheng
Team

This is great information to put things into perspective and I like how you flipped that message around.

It's disappointing that the amount of energy generated by these machines is so small. Maybe one thing that could help this idea would be an exercise machine designed first-most to produce energy rather than retrofitting some existing machine.

Maybe Elon will jump in at this point... :)

Photo of Chris Lee
Team

What would Elon do?
What if you scale the scoring system to the level of the input (the person)?
The smallest Tesla S has a 70 kWh battery... 20 people pedaling for 70 hours to charge. Wrong scale.
A home Powerwall (also from Tesla) has a 7kWh battery... 140 people pedaling for a 1 hour spinning class to charge... probably still the wrong scale.
A Nexus 5 battery holds about 8.5 Wh (http://www.anandtech.com/show/7517/google-nexus-5-review/3). So one person could run one from empty to 100% in about 10 minutes (ignoring the conversion losses). That would be about the right scale.
Maybe hook up a cell phone charger to the bike array and let them get the score from charging and a charged phone after exercising?

Photo of Shane Zhao
Team

Great provocations Chris and Jon! We're very glad to have your insights in this challenge

Photo of Jon Cheng
Team

Chris - Those are some really interesting calculations! It's taken me from one idea to another.

Knowing the scale, we could motivate people by linking their workout to a good cause perhaps. Say there was a device intended to be sent to countries in need that needed to be charged. A workout could be framed according to the number of such devices being charged.

The one that came to mind was the "Crank Laptop" which took me here after a quick search: http://techreport.com/news/10420/100-laptop-ditches-hand-crank

Interestingly, the article talks about how the crank laptop has switched to a pull string because it creates energy more efficiently. I feel like this point links back to my comment about building an exercise machine that's designed to produce energy first.

The hand crank and the bike pedal system are one and the same in principle. In the effort to mimic the "upgrade" to the pull string - what if we redesigned the exercise bike to have an additional free spinning wheel ("power wheel"). Pedaling would keep the power wheel going at the most efficient rate possible while avoiding any actions that would create resistance. Another possibility would be that the energy is stored and "fed" to the power wheel as needed over time.

The question is whether a change like this would result in a meaningful increase of power generated. Any thoughts Chris?

Photo of Reva Pabba
Team

Super awesome idea! I am a frequent visitor of the gym and sometimes it takes a lot of motivation to get myself there. I have actually thought about an idea similar to this - there are so many people working out and creating energy that can be harness and used! I also love the gamification of the process, that is an other great motivator to get people in the gym and pushing themselves. Good luck with your idea!

To answer some of your questions:
(1) I would definitely use it! Because I love that the work I am doing is positively contributing to the world.
(2) I think with the gamification aspect, I would want to push myself hard to earn more points or rewards.

Photo of B-Energy Build the future
Team

Reva, thanks for your encouraging comment! And for answering our questions. It’s good to hear that the combination between contributing positively to the world and the gamification feature will motivate you to workout harder, and more constantly at the gym. At this point we are thinking of new features to motivate non-gym users to start going to the gym. If you have or get any ideas or feedback of how to get people to start, they are highly welcome.
Thanks again.

Photo of Reva Pabba
Team

Alright, so I talked to a couple of my non-gym friends. Here is what they had to say:
(1) They would like tutorial based beginner challenges that give the points and rewards will motivate them to workout
(2) They would like to partner with the friends to push each other to workout - what that means is, I can send my friend a workout challenge (like 25 pull ups) if they complete it they can challenge me back with a different workout. This way they get points and motivation with friendly competition
(3) Some talked about a workout plan that they could follow for a month - they talked about how overwhelming it is to find and stick to a workout plan.

So the main things I'm pulling is they want (1)a support structure around their friends to motivate and encourage each other to workout, (2)tutorial they can use to start working out.
Hope that helps!

Photo of Shane Zhao
Team

Exciting to see the Be-Energy team back for another challenge! We love how you're building a synergy between the Healthy Lives Challenge and the Renewable Energy Challenge. Can you share with us a bit more about how you will plan to develop this project? Which aspect of Be-Energy have you tested - we'd love to hear more about the feedback you've gained from potential users. What may be some new features or programs that you'll hope refine during this challenge? Looking forward to hearing more !

Photo of B-Energy Build the future
Team

Hey Shane, thanks for the encouraging welcoming. We are glad to be part of this challenge, and we are looking forward to constructive feedbacks from the community concerning this synergy between renewable energy and health.
And yes, we have continue to look into the last challenge insights and along with new user feedbacks we have come out with new features for the idea.
*The first one is precise track of the user performance without the need of them to type in the amount of repetitions, machine being used and weight lifted. This feature tackles one of the most common problem that available gym apps have: that the user doesn’t want to type in the information. As seen in successful system as FitBit, the one without typing, delivers reports concerning the heartbeat of the user.
*The second is wide options for expending the energy sold back to the grid. In some of the gyms we visited there was this side activities being offered, where the user could pay to enrolled in and participated. This activities included Yoga events, hiking, training in the park and other out-of the gym activities. After looking more into why this made the gym so succesfull, we found that gym users like to enjoy their “healthy state” in physical and entertained activities. This inspired expanding the coupon feature from the gym disocunt to a wide options of out-of the gym activities coupons.
*Third, the feature of friendly coach. Where a newcomer to the Be system can request of someone more experience to coach him in his firsts days at the gym in exchange of some Be points. We thought of this feature after seeing how newcomers to the gym usually went with an experienced friend, the one not only introduced them to the whole workout, but more importantly, enhanced the experience of the gym to a friendly and fun one.

The last featurer is the one we intend to test next, as it is concentrated into non-gym users, an audience that we still not truly understand.

Thanks for reading,

Photo of Shane Zhao
Team

Thanks for the fantastic updates team! Here's a useful tip: Whenever you update the content of your post, it'd be helpful to indicate this in your idea title by adding an extension. For example, you can add the extension " - Update 7/29: Prototypes" to you idea title. This will be a good way to keep people informed about how your idea is progressing!

Photo of Kenji Genma
Team

Thank you for sharing the ideas. It's curious and good energy saving system we feel. I would like to propose that is it possible to create more compact generator/battery for hand-carry or use in my home? It's more convenience whether gym users or not. In addition, if you can charge back to my credit card or get money by vending machine for my accumulated energy, it's more convenience way to exchange or keep my motivation.

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Congratulations on making it to the Refinement Phase of the Healthy Lives Challenge B-Energy Team! We’re really excited to see the progress that you guys have made since the last Renewable Energy Challenge. We’re even more excited to see how you will collaborate with the OpenIDEO community to develop some of the new features that are in the works.

In the Refinement Phase, we’d love to learn more about the healthy lives side of Be-Energy. We’re particularly fascinated with the new features that you’re developing to make this experience more accessible to non-gym users. This might be a great opportunity to explore wearable technologies that will allow users to participate at home or on the go. In this challenge, we’re also interested in how you might tie in media content from TV programs. For example, users can potentially use wearable devices to exercise along with their favorite celebrities in TV shows. As was the case in the Renewable Energy Challenge, we’d love to see how you can test out some of the underlying assumptions with lightweight prototypes. Be sure to share with us any feedback that you receive from real users in your local community!

We also think your idea could work well in tandem with these two ideas: TV Fit - http://ideo.pn/1IDn5l8 and El Loser Local - http://bit.ly/1IGSdQV Given collaboration is the name of the game here at OpenIDEO, we hope you might reach out and collaborate to grow each other's concepts!

Photo of Joanna Spoth
Team

So great to see you in the challenge! :) With the phase ending in a few hours, we're excited to see your idea published and as concise and visual as possible. Go B-Energy!

Photo of B-Energy Build the future
Team

Hi Joanna, Sorry for the delay with our participation. We are still working in this new post, but we expect that we will be able to post something nice by Thursday.

Photo of Joanna Spoth
Team

Love the updates so far! Keep the good stuff coming and I'd suggest, with the focus area of this challenge, to highlight how the energy generation could lead to donations to nonprofits and/or a discounted gym price, making gym membership more widely available.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi B Energy! Awesome to see you pop up in this challenge and to hear about your continuing work on this idea.
Another idea regarding discounts or contributions which would extend fitness opportunities and wellness within communities - How about promoting sports for youth locally, such as tennis, soccer and baseball teams for youth in low-income communities? Might gym members be motivated to sponsor a local youth team in the same or neighboring low-income community? Funds can go to purchase equipment, uniforms, new cleats/sneakers, and healthy snacks during practice and games?

Photo of Helen Ngai
Team

Would it be better of you can custom our exercise plan according to our age and health condition? It is good to exercise but exercising too much can be harmful as well!
As this device is encouraging people to work out more but not work out right, it may cause some troubles if people work too much in order to get the discount and donation.
It would be better if people are rewarded in turns of the quality of exercise they have according to their existing health condition.
Besides, it would be good if the info can be used for health medicial care, as well as the insurance calculation!

Photo of Jia Wan
Team

For the new features to be added, I think you could add something to the effort-reward system. You could link with the shops you get coupons from and set up a recommendation platform for users to suggest new shops or restaurants and keep on making more cooperation with other companies.
Also, you could make some ubiquitous devices applicable to gym machines everywhere instead of a single gym, and set up some automatic machines to exchange the energy for rewards like coupons.

Photo of Jia Wan
Team

Love your creative idea! Do you think it is possible to make this embedded gym system into some portable device which is applicable to facilities elsewhere? For example make this into something which you can fix on all gym bikes?

Photo of Rachel Lee
Team

This is a great idea! I love the idea that something personal (working out) can be connected to a greater good. At the IXDA conference this last February, one of the student competitors had a similar idea, but it was something connected to your shoe. So the idea was that when you're walking around, it helps generate energy and you can either use it for yourself to lower the cost of your electricity bill or you could donate it to a neighbor! Maybe you could consider adding something like this as well? Great idea, I would definitely use it :)

Photo of B-Energy Build the future
Team

Thanks Rachel,
And you certainly highlighted one key point of the idea that is giving meaning to a personal activity. As for your observation about the feature of sharing the energy you produced, it’s a great idea, in fact we were evaluating this option in our last meeting. We want to allow the user to donate their be points (energy generated) to other users in exchange of coaching at the gym or any other type of action that promoted a welcoming environment for the new user at the gym.

Photo of Irene
Team

Interesting idea! I love how you created something that lies at the intersection of technology, health, and sustainability. I am wondering if you have considered a possible interaction with wearable devices, other than just the app, or perhaps the possibility to link the app's results with those of Apple health or similar health-tracking apps. Many people already use wearables, so I wonder if you're aiming at creating a potential complement to those offers, or a competitor. Have you had any feedback in this regard so far, and have you thought about the possibility of people perhaps not using your app if they already have a wearable, and the two are incompatible?
Love the idea, and looking forward to see how it develops further! :)

Photo of B-Energy Build the future
Team

Thanks Irene,
We believe that the simpler it is for the user the best, following this it will be ideal if the system could be a complement for the existing ones such as Fitbit. The issue here, is that we are introducing a whole new concept of “energy generated” rather than heartbeats, calories burned, distance, steps, etc. This and the gamification and coupons redemption, makes it difficult to interact with the existing apps.
Still, we do agree with your observation of making the system more compatible with other existing technologies. So we have thought of an easy way of allowing the interaction between the apps and is adding the feature to export your information from the Be App to any other. This way, if the user has another app that he likes, he will be able to sync it with the Be app and get all the valuable information that the Be device records, such as the number of repetitions and what type of machine was being used. What do you think about this feature?
Oh, and concerning your other question regarding the wearable option instead of an app, yes we initially thought of a bracelet instead of the app. But with the insights and feedbacks for a gamification option and a good display of the information, we decided to go for an app instead of a wearable.
Here´s the link to our first idea that included the bracelet concept, if you would like to check it out as well:
https://openideo.com/challenge/renewable-energy/highlights/transform-the-effort-done-in-the-gym-in-electricity
Thanks for your participation, hope we had answered your question and great idea of making the Idea more compatible with other apps and wearables, and please continue to give use feedback.

Photo of Jared Byrne
Team

I think this is a really interesting idea, specifically the gamification of the idea (as research shows how that increases engagement). I would love to see if working out could be rewarded beyond the discount at the gym or donation! as that seems to be the biggest missed opportunity...I think the idea is solid and creative and I believe that combining working out with health with eco-community/environmental health is a great idea - a gap seems to be that lots of people are looking for an effort-reward relationship in what they do.

This gap is that most people that don't work out and/or don't want to go to the gym may find it difficult to motivate themselves to get to the gym in the first place if their only rewards are around gym membership or complete donation. This seems like it would increase current gym user workouts (to be more effective/longer) and may increase participating gym memberships (people switching from other gyms) but neither of those increases the communal level of health - and instead could potentially lead to increasing the gap between the gym-goers and non-gym-goers; however, if it could be connected to something else - to some other type of coupon that would attract people who don't normally go to the gym to work out just for the reward (i.e. hotel coupons, healthy restaurant discounts, farmers market coupons, bike purchase discount, house/business utility discounts from the donations, etc.) that seems as though it would stretch the idea into a whole (or several) new market.

Photo of B-Energy Build the future
Team

Deep observation Jared,

We appreciate that you took the time to look into our idea, and your comment is accurate. Keeping the effort-reward cycle enclosed in physical and healthy exercises might lead to increase the gap between the gym-goers and non-gym-goers.

Reason why we consider your idea pertinent of adding different coupons such as the ones you commented: hotel coupons, healthy restaurant discounts, farmers market coupons, bike purchase discount, house/business utility discounts from the donations, etc. in our next update.
Furthermore, for our next user test we were intending to try out a new feature of the gamification option. Design to help new comers to break the gap of feeling uncomfortable about their level at a gym.

This feature is COACHING FRIEND. Where a higher level user (in-app level) can offer their assistance to newcomers to the gym. The high level user will have the chance of getting extra be points, and the newcomers the chance of not going along to the gym, but backed up.

The idea of this feature came from an insight observed by one of our teammates in her last workout. Where she noticed that usually the new kids went with his experienced friend, the one introduced them into the gym and thought his friends how to use all the gym equipment, but more importantly: made the gym a fun, social and friendly experience.

Photo of Charity
Team

I absolutely love the idea! As somebody who has recently slipped off from going to the gym 6 days a week, to only going about 2 days a week, I could see this being a huge motivation for me. Since you would be selling the electricity back into the grid, I would be expressly motivated if that they translated into energy savings for me; ie, money off of my own electric bill, gas cards, or even VISA/Mastercard gift cards that I can use to make whatever purchases I want.

Photo of Juan Pablo Castaño
Team

Thanks Charity!
Great to hear your pleasant feedback about this idea. The coupon function has a wide area to explore, so it’s important to narrow the initial options to the ones that drive the user the most to workout. We believe that your contribution is great, and goes align with some of the comments we have got from gym users whom we have chat with this pasts days.
Same as you, they expressed that if their effort at the gym translated into any sort of economic saving, they will be highly more motivated to workout hard and consistently.
And following the concept of “be energy”; if the energy generated while working out meant saving at one´s energy bill, then we will be giving the user an experience of literally “generating your own electricity”.
Thanks for your contribution, and please keep participating.

Photo of Luisa Vasquez
Team

Interesting! This seems like a great idea, and I'd like to see if there were a way to incorporate more into the target community. And maybe even their culture. Perhaps a car-pooling system (which is also green, and would hopefully appeal to the same population) would not only further the mission, but also create a community amongst the target audience. Not only will they be motivated to make a difference, but their family and friends will encourage them to continue to work out and make a difference. This could potentially be incorporated in the app, maybe with a geo location of some sort that allows you to "Find a carpool near me", which would create a social network around the idea somehow.