Adrian Crisan, a software engineer from Compaq’s Houston headquarters, has invented a hardware device which could help further reduce the size and weight of laptop computers.
Compaq has recently patented Crisan’s method, which generates power from the physical action of depressing keys on a keyboard.
Each key has a number of small magnets mounted on the bottom which are surrounded by coils. When the user is typing, the magnets move through the coils and this movement generates a current. The currents generated by the keys are then fed to a charge pump which multiplies the voltage to achieve a level greater than that of the laptop’s battery.
This multiplied voltage is then used to charge a capacitor which recharges the battery.
The amount of electricity generated by the keyboard is entirely dependent upon the amount of information entered by the user. So, while prolonged periods of typing are considerably beneficial, five minutes of typing with one-finger does not produce much of a result.
Compaq feels that this invention will not only be used to lengthen the operating period of portable computers but also to reduce the size of the primary batteries needed to power portable computers.