If you found the idea of machines harvesting human bodies for energy as shown in the movie The Matrix a bit too far-fetched, a new development in the realm of cryptocurrency R&D might just prompt you to change that notion. And before you start imagining things, allow us to assure you that we haven’t entered a dystopian future ruled by AI overlords yet. Instead, this innovation we’re referring to was developed by a group of (human) researchers from the Netherlands.
The research designed and led by Manuel Beltran aims to use human-powered energy to mine digital assets. Beltran, who’s currently with the intriguingly named Institute of Human Obsolescence (IoHO), has developed a special bodysuit that harvests the heat emitted by the human body and turns it into a sustainable source of energy.
The IoHO is currently conducting various operations that include researching and developing “biological labor” for the mining of crypto coins such as ethereum, bitcoin, litecoin, and others. Under Beltran’s guidance, the research team recently ran a series of tests that spanned over nearly 212 hours with participation by 37 workers.
Using the customized bodysuit, the 37 participants in the experiment collectively generated 127.2 watts of power. Apparently, that was enough to mine 16,590 vertcoin, litecoin, dash, startcoin, ethereum, and lisk tokens. Explaining the reasoning behind the experiments, the researchers stated that the human body is capable of producing as much as 100 watts while resting, of which nearly 80 percent goes to waste.
“A single human body at rest radiates 100 watts of excess heat. We created a body-suit that uses thermoelectric generators to harvest the temperature differential between the human body and ambient and converts it into usable electricity,” IoHO claims, as reported by the website Tribetica.
IoHO is optimistic about the future of data production labor, which is why the organization is currently exploring different avenues to bank on the human body to produce capital.
Interestingly, while mining crypto coins, the “workers” have to do exactly nothing but lay down. The bodysuit does all the hard work to maintain their body temperature and convert the body heat to produce human-generated data which is then rewarded in cryptocurrencies.
Beltran acknowledged that his team did not attempt to mine bitcoin for the simple reason that it requires a lot of energy to produce one single unit of the cryptocurrency. Based on his estimation, it would take 4,500 individuals to lay down all day long wearing the IoHO body suit to mine just one bitcoin.