Recently, Metropolis Magazine featured some alternative energy-conserving ideas that were submitted to the Next Generation competition for 2007. Although these ideas didn't win the award, they were still noteworthy. Pictured above, is part of the submission Yael Miller proposed for Next Generation. This was one of the concepts featured in Daniela Morell's article, A Piece of the Piezoelectric Pie, on Metropolis.com. Of course I'm really proud, since Yael's my wife and we worked on this together!
The general idea is that we can 'capture' energy that's used to store for later use. The sources are as diverse as electricity already in use (like a large appliance) to physical motion from our own bodily activities (like exercising or pushing a stroller.)
For example, while a vacuum cleaner is running, the back-and-forth motion and vibrations can generate small amounts of piezoelectric or hydraulic energy that powers an on-board emergency flashlight.
See more about this proposed concept after the jump.