As anyone who’s scratched their head to the fundamental premise of The Matrix knows, each human body generates about 100 watts of body heat. Now, if we could only capture that energy, our computers could make us virtual slaves and we’d all get to dress really cool and shoot people and bend spoons and stuff.
That’s where the Swedes come in. This BBC video about the Stockholm Central train station describes how the body heat of the station’s 250,000 daily passengers is utilized to heat an office building across the street. Heat exchangers are used to heat water and then pumped over to the office building. The process saves about 25% on their energy bill.
Sure, it makes the world greener. But does this technology bring closer the day when machines will pack humans into stacks of heat-capturing capsules and then let our brains parade around virtual cities in black PVC and wraparound shades, cracking the I.R.S. D-Base? Who can say? Myself, I want to be somebody important — like, an actor.