By Evan Ackerman

Energy is one of those things that everybody seems to be just a little bit short of. That’s why half of humanity is addicted to coffee, and also why we get understandably excited when we hear about new technology that is able to suck the energy out of everyday life. Hmm, that came out wrong… And yet, that’s exactly what Yael Miller’s Kineticel concept is designed to do. Kineticel captures energy from moving things (through normal daily activities) via piezoelectricity, and stores it in batteries for later use. It’s just a concept, so none of the engineering has been worked out, but DARPA is already using this sort of tech to power wearable sensors.

Of course, there’s no such thing as free energy (Steorn be damned). So, if you hook up a Kineticel to a baby swing, you’re going to have to push it just a little bit harder. Although the designer suggests using Kineticels to sap electricity from electrically powered things like vacuums, the most effective use for this technology is probably to hook it up to things that are human powered, since we’re pretty efficient energy producers (in that we run on carrots and stuff). So for example, you could lift weights, and the weights would generate electricity from being lifted.

Kineticel was submitted to Metropolis magazine’s 2007 Next Generation competition which was all about integrating piezoelectric energy generation into everyday life; you can check out some of the other entries in this article.

[ Reuben Miller ]