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Friday, 15 February, 2002, 09:08 GMT
Pump up your laptop
Graphic, BBC
BBC Go Digital's Jon Wurtzel casts a wry eye over developments in the world of technology

Soon you may be able to supply enough electricity to run a computer without relying on external power sources.

This could have a great impact if you are in a part of the world without easy or cheap access to electricity.

It could also mean you will not have to access a fixed electrical outlet to keep your computer running.

A company called Aladdin Power has developed a product called a Step Charger which it says is capable of producing enough electricity to quickly recharge a laptop computer.

Easy to use

Roughly the size of a small paperback book, the device contains a pedal that if pumped by your foot for a few minutes, will reportedly release enough power to recharge the battery in your laptop.

Step Charger could power your laptop
Step Charger adapted for various uses
Scheduled to be released in the autumn of 2001, the Step Charger is not yet publicly available because it is being tested by the US Department of Defense in current operations.

Originally developed for devices like computers, Aladdin Power is finding that this technology is now being adapted for a variety of other uses.

Because it can easily generate and release a controlled amount of electrical voltage, products like this have been used for land mine testing and detonation.

Movie special effects departments have also put it to use, setting off the explosions in the film Pearl Harbour with similar generators.

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