Just had a few thoughts on how RePower Alice Springs (and the people of the NT in general) might benefit from the impending closure of the Uluru climb.
The “Ayers Rock (Uluru) Virtual Climb” would use a bank of ‘stair-master’ exercise machines that may be battery connected, or direct to grid. The ‘climbers’ would climb aboard a stair-master, having donned VR headgear and would climb the 348 vertical metres of ‘the rock’. The power they put into the stair-master making a direct energy contribution to the local grid. At an average of 70Kg each climber might generate 238898 Joules, (a rate of approximately 100 Watts for a 40 minute ascent) some of which might be used to power the PC that serves up the VR experience (the vision – plus optional soundtrack of encouragement – choice of 10 voices).
The vision could include Augmented Reality (i.e. identifying the place about 4 steps up the climb where Pauline Hanson abandoned, or placing Pokemon Go characters at random on the route). It would also include the view from the top (as taken by a 4K equipped drone).
In more good news for Virtual Uluru climbers – they won’t have to climb back down!
All of this is, of course, for a fee. Climbers could pay a premium for an ‘air-conditioned climb’ – and perhaps an even bigger fee for an ‘assisted climb’? Fee’s for ‘natural’ (no aircon, stair-master in full sun) could be reduced – but could just as easily have a ‘greater realism’ premium applied on really hot days. Bonuses for rapid climbing (puts more power in the grid) might include getting your summit photo taken with the ‘Pollie of your choice’ (Pauline Hanson, Scott Morrison, Peter Dutton, etc…)
One compelling advantage of the “ARVC” is that it can be located anywhere – no need to drive out to Ulara! (handily reducing your CO2 emissions) and saving you, the tourist, considerable time (which might be profitably spent in Alice Springs). And, with minimal extra coding, it would be possible to add “Eiffel Tower Virtual Climb”, “Machu Pitchu Virtual Climb” and even “Everest Virtual Climb” (definitely need air-conditioning for that one).
This RePower initiative could be licensed to the NT Gov or the Power &Water Corporation – all profits to Arid Lands Environment Centre.