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Can we design vehicle for animal self powered?

  1. Jun 9, 2013 #1
    Greeting. This is my first thread in engineering zone. Pleased to meet you all

    As the topic said. I want to ask about how possible to make animal powered vehicle for animal
    Or simply said, can we create bicycle for animal?

    I just think that, Human walk is low efficient compare to bicycle. Even bicycle add weight into overall system. Using bicycle is faster and consume less energy than running

    So, can we give animal the same kind of system? Some wheels connected to gear and.... Pedal? Threadmill? whatever. Anything and everything that can boost harness power efficiency and lower fatigue of animal

    I want to find some way to let human able to use animal powered engine instead of fuel. But just using direct drafting like the old day is not enough anymore. Boosting efficiency with mechanical engineering is my hope
    Do you have any idea?
    Thank you
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 9, 2013 #2

    russ_watters

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  4. Jun 9, 2013 #3
    Thank you. That seem promising but are there any really workable design for working animal?
     
  5. Jun 11, 2013 #4

    Danger

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    I hope you realize that no matter how efficiently you get the little buggers pedaling, their steering will be atrocious.
     
  6. Jun 11, 2013 #5
    Yesterday I have though the simple design maybe.... The treadmill that slope and power rear wheels. The steering would be front wheels like normal car

    Maybe design it like side bike. The steering is controlled by human. Just harness the power of animal

    Also if we can train. Howabout... if animal tilt its body then it turn that way? Something auto calculate the center of gravity like Honda electric unicycle?
     
  7. Jun 11, 2013 #6

    Danger

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    With the state of computer systems and control equipment, I suppose that anything is possible as far as the animal driving and steering the vehicle goes. What I do not understand, however, is how you plan to steer the animal.
     
  8. Jun 11, 2013 #7
    In my idea right now...

    Animal was on stand on the vehicle. And steering with the same as car steering system. Just take engine out and use animal walk on treadmill to power rear wheel instead

    If we let animal ride this vehicle by themselves. Maybe train them to use it like we train ourselves to use bicycle
    If we want to control vehicle. Then it would be another model that we sit on the side of treadmill and use normal steering wheel
    Animal would stand on vehicle. Not touch the ground. Just harness their power
    So what is the problem of steering?
     
  9. Jun 11, 2013 #8
    How would a treadmill add any efficiency to the system?

    Not to mention why you'd want to do this... Even if you somehow got an animal to use a device that made better use of their mechanical energy (which I highly doubt is possible or practical), the gains made in efficiency would be ridiculously overshadowed by the costs due to the complexity of the system as compared to having the animal simply tow you with its feet on the ground. I'm not saying give up, but maybe take a step back for a moment and reanalyze the problem.
     
  10. Jun 11, 2013 #9
    I just guess that if we can add wheel to animal it would be more efficient to harness
    But to add wheel directly would be too hard to control. So the treadmill is just medium, like human use pedal for bicycle, not pushing the ground by foot
    Using treadmill would decrease efficient a bit but it would be more convenient to draw the power from animal to wheel. Which wheel and freewheel would increase efficiency in return. It could also add gear and other utility for decrease animal fatigue and strain

    As I said at start. I guess it from the fact that we human use bicycle as the most efficient tool in traveling. Pedaling also able to harness human power for many mechanical task like grinding. Compare to working animal we use treadmill for the same engine

    But I really don't have solid idea. Treadmill is just something come up to my mind. It can be anything that could increase overall efficiency than direct drafting
     
  11. Jun 11, 2013 #10

    Averagesupernova

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    Dogs have been trained to run on treadmills to do tasks. I believe laundry.
    -
    As far as training the animal goes, I doubt it is possible. It is VERY possible to train them with a driver, but I doubt you could stick a dog in a self powered vehicle and say: "Ok Fido, go get the mail."
    -
    I have seen videos of a dog riding a skateboard and navigate corners very well. But it was all down hill.
     
  12. Jun 11, 2013 #11
    Animal-powered hybrid land-marine vehicle:

    bareback.png
     
  13. Jun 11, 2013 #12

    berkeman

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    One thought would be to have a wheeled supporting cart that fits under a horse and supports 50-75% of their body weight. As long as there was enough traction between their hooves and the road to be able to propel the horse and rider forward, the unweighting would make walking and trotting easier on the horse. The horse might even be able to be trained to "glide" by lifting its hooves off the road after getting to speed on the flats, or on downhills. The rider would control the steering and braking of the supporting cart.

    Wonder what the horse would think of that -- no idea if it could be made comfortable for them. This would probably only work on smooth roads (maybe smooth dirt roads too...).
     
  14. Jun 11, 2013 #13

    Danger

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    Walking is the most efficient tool in traveling; bicycling involves mechanical losses.
     
  15. Jun 11, 2013 #14

    berkeman

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    I don't think that's true, Danger. You can't coast while walking...
     
  16. Jun 11, 2013 #15

    Danger

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    But you have to have built up momentum in order to coast, at a mechanical loss.
     
  17. Jun 11, 2013 #16

    etudiant

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    Bicycling is much more efficient than walking on a joule/km basis.
    The catch is that it requires a reasonably level surface, whereas walking is much more flexible.
    The power wasted in walking gets captured for forward motion by the bike.

    The OPs idea is an interesting one and entirely feasible.
    Here in NYC, many people walk aging pets with paralyzed hindquarters that are supported by a wheeled frame.
    The concept could surely be extended to the entire animal, in line with berkeman's idea. Steering would work by flexing the carrier vehicle.
    Horses are more difficult, they might have trouble breathing properly while suspended from a carrier.
    Still, it would perhaps allow for much faster horses, just as bikes enable much faster humans.
     
  18. Jun 11, 2013 #17

    Danger

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    I guess that therein lies the basis of my disagreement. I live in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. There's no such thing as a level surface. Two of the hills leading to and from my town are 8% grades, and the third is 6%. One east-west road is fairly flat, but has a southward slope.
     
  19. Jun 11, 2013 #18

    etudiant

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    My mistake, I meant even rather than level.
    Biking preserves momentum much better than walking does. That saves energy.
    The calorie burn for walking is about three times that used for biking, according to this:
    http://www.worldwatch.org/node/4057
     
  20. Jun 12, 2013 #19
    Walking loses more mechanical. You build energy and lose most from break of foot touch the ground. The momentum you gain from pushing forward is just near half. Compare to pedaling and gear it loses too but less than walk

    At least the kick scooter is more efficient than walk. Because the wheel draw power that normally lose from walk

    Flexibility in most system come from efficiency drawback
     
  21. Jun 12, 2013 #20

    Averagesupernova

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    All I can say with efficiency concerning biking vs. walking is how far do you think you can walk in a day compared to how far you can bike?
     
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