Science Energy Minimum Wage Machine Pays You Pennies for Your Power By Jaymi Heimbuch Writer California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo Jaymi Heimbuch is a writer and photographer specializing in wildlife conservation. She is the author of The Ethiopian Wolf: Hope at the Edge of Extinction. our editorial process Twitter Twitter Jaymi Heimbuch Updated October 11, 2018 Migrated Image Share Twitter Pinterest Email Energy Renewable Energy Fossil Fuels One way to make a little side money is to be a power generator. The Minimum Wage Machine will pay you in real time for the power you generate. The more you crank, the more pennies it spits out. Creator Blake Fall-Conroy shared details with MAKE, saying, "The minimum wage machine pays the user minimum wage in real-time in pennies-- the smallest unit of currency in the US. Being in NY, with minimum wage at $7.15 an hour, this equates to 1 penny every 5.035 seconds. The machine has a crank attached to an antique change sorting machine (circa 1913, ebay) and by belt to a small DC motor (salvaged from a printer). The crank turns the motor's shaft which, in turn, acts as a small generator. The voltage produced goes through a 5V regulator and powers a Basic Stamp. It also powers a stepper motor (same printer) moving a small wheel at the mouth of the change sorter and a small motor inside the change reservoir of the machine." "In the future, I see possibility in a lot of these machines hooked into a grid, with people performing basic human labor for money. Perhaps a new form of renewable energy generation? A new kind of supercomputer with thousands of people performing basic calculations at minimum wage "stations" across the world? Who knows?" The image of a bunch of people lined up cranking away just to generate power for the grid is really depressing. But maybe if someone needs a job for that day, it beats standing on a street corner with a "Blowout Sale!! Unbeatable Prices!!" sign all afternoon for some big box store. And would be more productive. But luckily, the Minimum Wage Machine is just a novelty....for now.