Green energy from a stick
Update on 4 May, 2012: the product is not shipping yet
nPower’s Personal Electronic Generator, “PEG” is a nine-inch tube that generates up to 4 Watts of power. When you go up a set of stairs you expend 200 Watts of power. A cell phone charger can only accept 2.5 Watts, so the PEG needs to harvest less than 2% of your kinetic energy. Besides charging phones, Cleveland-based Tremont Electric says PEG will handle 9 out of 10 hand-held electronic devices, including hand-held games, but will NOT work on laptop computers. The PEG was announced last January at the Consumer Electronics Show and is expected to come to market any day now.
How does this relate to higher education? More and more mobile technology is used in the academic arena. An archaeologist could attach a PEG to her arm and power a GPS unit while finding her way to a dig. A biology major could strap one of them onto his leg to power a device that records data in the field. A photography student could keep one in her backpack while hiking across campus, ensuring that her camera would always be charged up.
Some of us remember when self-winding watches first appeared, so it’s not surprising that experts believe that a version of this technology may eventually be embedded into mobile devices. Until that day, you can pre-order a PEG for $149.00.
MPR’s “All Tech Considered” recently did a story on the PEG. Read/listen to Recharging Portable Electronics One Step At A Time at their site or listen here: http://public.npr.org/anon.npr-mp3/npr/atc/2009/11/20091109_atc_04.mp3?dl=1
UPDATE – 28 Sep 2011 – these devices are still not available.