Your laptop's battery is fading but you're miles from the nearest socket - what steps can you take to keep on using it?
As many as you like, with the YoGen Max foot-charger, which recharges notebook computers by pedal power alone.
Using a "springy suspended self-returning pedal", the "Lego-like" Max stores energy in an on-board battery (up to 3000mAh) using an "extremely slim" on-board alternator integrated with a "speed-up mechanical transmission".
The YoGen Max is supposedly capable of delivering up to 80W of power to recharge the flattest laptop.
EasyEnergy, an Israeli company that also offers a small hand-pull charger for mobile phones, announced today that it has succeeded in getting an alpha prototype of the Max to work, with the final device also having charge and load indicators, and a cable connector to fit "most popular laptop brands".
The Max isn't small - it measures 170 x170 x 93 mm when ready for use - but the determined road warrior (without a car adaptor) might find it useful. We also quite like the idea of combining a Stairmaster-style aerobic workout with our daily blogging.
EasyEnergy is taking pre-orders now, naturally, for an estimated delivery during 2009.
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Mark Harris is Senior Research Director at Gartner.