If you'd like to live off-grid but still retain access to power when you need it, then New York-based company Pedal Power might have you covered – providing you don't mind putting in the legwork, that is. The firm has launched a Kickstarter campaign for its two stationary bike-like gadgets that are claimed to produce enough electricity to run a laptop when pedaled. They can also be used to run machine tools, churn butter, and perform other useful tasks.
The Pedal Power range comprises two models, dubbed Big Rig and Pedal Genny. Big Rig is, predictably, the larger of the two, and offers a built-in seat and work surface, plus additional goodies, such as a battery to store your hard-earned electricity for later use. The Pedal Genny, meanwhile, looks a little more rough around the edges and seems less flexible with no work surface or seat included. On the plus side however, it is more portable and inexpensive in comparison.
Of course, charging your gadgets by pedaling is nothing new, but the Pedal Power models do seem to offer benefits in terms of flexibility, size, and power output. The catch is, we don't currently have as much data on the designs as we'd ideally like to see, but Pedal Power promises that an "average" adult should be able to pedal the Big Rig for a sufficient time to run a laptop for two hours, pump five gallons of water per minute, grind grains, operate an air compressor, and perform a variety of other useful tasks.
The smaller Pedal Genny can also be used to produce electricity, mill grain, and pump water. The firm also states that the Pedal Genny can be configured to run other low-power mechanical devices.
Besides off-grid enthusiasts and those looking for a worst-case-scenario power backup, there's also an obvious humanitarian angle to the Pedal Power devices, but the price is perhaps still too high at this point for large-scale deployment. A pledge for a Big Rig starts at $2,000, while putting your hand up for a Pedal Genny costs $650 for the base model (not including electric generator).
Those interested can check out the Kickstarter pitch video and links below for more information.