Lenovo's Mechanical Energy Harvesting Keyboard And Mouse Draw Power From Fidgety Fingers

Lenovo Mechanical Energy Harvest Combo (keyboard and mouse) on a gray gradient background.
Solar-powered keyboards exist and have for a long while—I've been using one from Logitech for several years now as a travel companion, because I'm not all that fond of pecking away on a laptop keyboard. Lenovo, however, is toying around with taking the concept even further with its Mechanical Energy Harvesting Combo, which consists of a unique keyboard and mouse prototype.

The name appears clunky at first glance but actually makes sense, as both peripherals harvest battery power from mechanical motions. No, not from typing or mouse movements. Instead, there's a dial that looks like a volume knob on the upper-left corner of the keyboard, and a ring on the underside of the mouse. Turning and winding them provides battery life.

"The Mechanical Energy Harvesting Combo is a product that uses mechanical movement and solar irradiation to power a mouse and a keyboard, eliminating the need for external charging. The mouse and the keyboard are ergonomically designed to provide comfort and engagement for the user," Lenovo explains.

In other words, if you like fidget spinners, you might love something like this. There's a major caveat, though—it takes a lot of spinning to power these devices.

John Burek at PCMag stopped by Lenovo's booth at CES for a closer look where it's revealed that five minutes of spinning the dial on the keyboard amounts to 30 minutes of battery life. The mouse is more efficient as it takes a single minute to net 30 minutes of run time, but that's still not spectacular.

Given that it's so time-consuming to manually charge these peripherals, it would be easy to dunk on them—kinetic energy is not holy grail of battery life, it seems. But it's an interesting concept all the same, particularly the spinner on the keyboard. I could see myself spinning it for spits and giggles while browsing websites or watching YouTube videos.

I also find it cathartic to flick the free-spinning scroll wheel on my Logitech G502 Plus X mouse, though I only get to do so when navigating long websites. If there was a option/toggle to make this action charge the mouse, I'd be all for it. Maybe someday.

As to Lenovo's keyboard, there's also a solar panel along the top, which to me makes it the more feasible of the two peripherals. Note that you can plug both the keyboard and mouse into your PC to charge them the old fashioned way. We'll have to wait and see if Lenovo is able to fine-tune its Mechanical Energy Harvesting Combo and/or whether it graduates from a concept to a shipping product.