In terms of getting the most out of personal energy generators, they will be bulkier for the foreseeable future. Light and thermal handily beat vibration/motion in energy harvesting:
You can get to as much as 10mW/cm^2 with thermal/solar, per the table in the above doc.
If any one is interested in my comments on EE Times Bill Schweber's article, here is the link:
@Junko: I actually liked your report on CES in Japan you wrote several months ago; it had cooler gadgets (:-)
Dr. MP Divakar
A rural area in Germany is worst case 10k form a built up area, hardly a limitation There are around 68 million people in an area of 350,000km2. The US is a little more of a challenge with 310 million people in 9.8 million km2, but try Australia where a rural area can be 2000km from built up area where 22 million people live in 7.6 million km2 :-) regulations can give a false impression when not viewed in context.
The Telescope gizmo is not something new. Almost about ten years back I found something similar on the internet. A laboratory in California had installed a telescope and I could get the control of that robot sitting here in my room in India and I could maneuver the telescope with my keyboard commands to watch the California sky. That was something!
As much as I would like to see the kinetic generator to be a commercial success, the pesimist in me, feels that the efficiency in such gadget will so limited that for most applications it will be a waste of resources (purchase instead of other more practical, time to setup, the reliability of this type of device). Wind turbins are barely been adapted as energy sources, because the payoff has economic advantages. Best wishes to these dreamers!