The OLPC folks have finally settled on a way to power the OLPC laptop. They're going to use a
hand crank foot pedal string. That's right, string. You pull it out of a generator, like a lawnmower starter of old, that sets an internal charger spinning.
To quote the Technology Review article:
users will be able to operate the generator in a variety of ways, including holding the device (the size of two hockey pucks) in one hand and pulling the string with the other, or clamping the generator to a desk, attaching the string to one foot, and using leg power.
To reach the project's goal of one minute of power generation for every ten minutes of laptop use, the generator would need to produce 20 watts (the laptop will require less than two watts in a primary application as an electronic textbook replacement).
Now when is OLPC gonna get serious about alternative power, and stop goofing around with stirngs. There is already a proven, tested, and wideldy used power souerce perfect for the gadget: hamster power!