Charging gadget redefines power-walking

Small kinetic energy harvester powers portable device up to 80 percent with one hour of walking.

The nPower PEG (at right) can harness kinetic energy to power most portable electronic devices.
nPower/Tremont Electric

The nPower PEG (Personal Energy Generator) from a company called Tremont Electric harnesses personal kinetic energy as a person walks, transferring it into electricity to the portable electronic device plugged into it.

Using this method, the PEG can charge the average portable device up to 80 percent in about an hour.

Aaron LeMiex, the inventor and founder of Tremont Electric, came up with the idea for the device while hiking 1,500 miles of the Appalachian Trail more than 10 years ago.

The PEG is 9 inches by 1.5 inches, weighs about 9 ounces, and is made of recycled materials. The PEG isn't a battery, so users can not store their kinetic energy to be used for charging later. Instead, it's more of a kinetic energy real-time converter that must be plugged in to the device as it's moving for the kinetic energy to be transferred as electricity immediately to the device.

The PEG, which has a standard USB 2.0 output, is compatible with 90 percent of portable electronic devices including MP3 players, GPS units, and digital cameras, according to Tremont Electric. (The compatibility list includes BlackBerry, iPhone, iPod, LG Chocolate, Magellan GPS, Nintendo DS Lite, Palm Treo, and most cell phones from Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, Sanyo, and Sony.)

There's no need to wear the device, as with some other kinetic energy harvesting devices. Simply carrying the PEG in a backpack, purse, or briefcase while walking provides the opportunity to harvest enough kinetic energy for the electricity. It also works while the user stands or sits on a subway or bus, or ties it to another moving object in use like a kayak or bicycle.

Right now, the PEG is only available for preorder. The device comes with two free adapters for devices of the user's choosing when ordering.

"If our entire target market used the PEG to recharge their cell phones for an hour each day, instead of plugging into a wall outlet, they would reduce the amount of electricity needed from the grid by 25.4 million kilowatts," Tremont Electric said in a statement. "That's enough energy to power 21,000 households for an entire year."