Exercise buffs who hop on an elliptical machine for half an hour can power a laptop for an hour with the generated energy, thanks to a tweak made by a young Florida entrepreneur. The technique takes advantage of a generator already built into a popular model of the cross-trainers. About a dozen organizations have started using the modified machines—and capture the muscle energy to power things like lights or to simply boost the power grid, the Daily Telegraph reports.
"We're not going to get off Middle Eastern oil by connecting up all the ellipticals all over the country," said the director of sustainability at the University of Oregon, which has 20 of the machines. "We bought it and installed it mostly because it's an educational opportunity. People will be on those things sweating away and it gets them thinking."