Heard of piezoelectric material? It’s not exactly ‘new’, but it’s pretty cool. Basically it’s material that creates energy — specifically electricity — through the deformation (most often when under compression) of its molecules.
One example of the ways this material could be used is as pavement. Energy is created by cars driving over the material. One major drawback, though — it takes more energy for the car to traverse the material than it does over regular asphalt — increased friction and all that. Fractionally more, to be sure, but significant over a long period of time.
Another brilliant use of this material is in dance floors. There‘s a club in London that can provide 60% of its power from people dancing. How cool is that?
What they need to do is extend this idea just a bit. Put piezoelectric in a treadmill (or in the bedsprings — for the x-rated action) and create electricity from exercising. So what if you need to expend a little more energy on a piezoelectric treadmill? Unlike fossil fuels, it’s good for the human body to put a little more effort out. Assuming you could store the electricity, you could get healthy and cut your power bill using green energy. Awesome!
Hell, even if you could power the TV while you’re on the treadmill, that would be worthwhile, right?
Of course, since I’m a writer who often writes stories with a sci-fi bent, I’m now imagining a future world where slaves in human-sized hamster wheels (made of piezoelectric material) provide energy for the rich. And, since this is me, there would be LOTS of gorgeous sweaty men wearing loincloths. Oh, those yummy… er… darn plot bunnies! Now if we could get some sort of material that would create TIME, I’d have time to write all these plot bunnies.