This isn't an actual product, obviously, but a neat, simple idea. As part of a "Greener Gadgets" competition, this is an idea to implement "inlets" next to power outlets that would harvest energy from small-scale (think household) sources and feed that power back to the grid. The proposal includes ideas for getting power out of obvious kinetic sources such as door mats and trampolines (and doors and who knows what else), heat sources such as ovens and refrigerator coils, and installing generators in gym equipment.
And this leads to this Greener Gadgets contest, which is part of a Greener Gadgets conference that I've never heard of until now. It's happening here in NYC at the end of the month, so I might check it out. "Going green" is all the rage these days, and I never paid it much mind. The more I think about it, though, and the more attention I see paid to green thinking, the more it makes sense. It's forcing us to think about the efficiency and longevity of our artifacts, and will in the end create smarter products. And now I want to go off about spimes, but I'll save that for another post.
One more quick thing! Think about the gym equipment thing. If gyms would implement this, and come up with a very simple way to track who is on what machine, they could give back to their clients proportional to what those clients help the gym give back to the grid. It would be a small incentive, but a very real one.