June 24, 2008

Untapped Sources of Energy

A columnist for Slate wonders if she can use her chest to power an iPod. Now this isn't the kind of information that most of us would go searching for; but you never know when you might make an appearance on Jeopardy or be stuck on a desert island in desperate need of power.

And for now for your consumption:
"It turns out that the physics of breast motion have been studied closely for the last two decades by a gamut of researchers, most of them women. LaJean Lawson, a former professor of exercise science at Oregon State University, has studied breast motion since 1985 and now works as a consultant for companies like Nike to develop better sports bra designs. Lawson was enthusiastic about my idea but warned it would be tricky to pull off. You would need the right breast size and the right material, she explained, and the bra itself would have to be cleverly designed. "It's just a matter of finding the sweet spot, between reducing motion to the point where it's comfortable but still allowing enough motion to power your iPod," she said.

Lawson explained that breasts move on three different axes: from side to side, front to back, and up and down. The most motion is generated on the vertical axis. Naturally, the bigger the breast, the more momentum it generates. "Let's face it—if you're a double-A marathoner, you're probably not going to get that iPod up and running," Lawson said. Measurements compiled by Lawson and her colleagues show that a D-cup in a low-support bra can travel as much as 35 inches up and down (35 inches!) during exercise, while a B-cup in a high-support bra barely moves an inch."

Not quite as much as fun as the story about the mohel who beat the speeding ticket, but...


Attila said...

Good one, Jack. What is it about breasts and science, anyway? You'd think this field would attract men.

See here, a post of mine from last year.

"If only Einstein had studied this topic, instead of wasting his time on the general theory of relativity."

Jack said...

You're right about Einstein.