Popular Science writes about harvesting energy from human movement:
The Bionic Energy Harvester can produce enough power from a one-minute walk to juice a cell phone for 30 minutes. The generator sits on your knee and gathers energy toward the end of your step, when your leg begins to brake.
There may be a lot of potential here, but most of the article talks about the ability to charge a phone, which just doesn’t seem that exciting. But this is cool:
Soon, we might not even have to consciously move to create power. Wang is working on a polymer film that would surround his power-generating fibers and allow them to be implanted into our bodies. There they would harvest kinetic energy from the steady dilation and contraction of blood vessels, providing a source of electricity for pacemakers, insulin pumps and other medical devices—making for a truly powerful breakthrough.
There are also some innovative musical applications:
Dance clubs are also getting in on the action. In the Netherlands, Rotterdam’s new Club WATT has a floor that harnesses the energy created by the dancers’ steps. Designed by a Dutch company called the Sustainable Dance Club, the floor is based on the piezoelectric effect, in which certain materials produce an electric current when compressed or bent… As clubgoers dance, the [floor] generates anywhere from two to 20 watts of electricity, depending on the impact of the patronsâ€™ feet. For now, it’s just enough to power LED lights in the floor, but in the future, more output is expected from newer technology. In London, Surya, another new eco-nightclub, uses the same principle for its dance floor, which the owners hope will one day generate 60 percent of the club’s electricity.
Using piezo materials in a dance floor to power a real-time interaction is more inspiring than using it to provide some percentage of the venue’s electricity. To me, the LED floor implies a revolution of environment, in its Gibsonian sense, not environmentalism. Here’s more about Club WATT: