Lenovo is showing off a concept wireless keyboard & mouse set at CES 2024 that never needs to be plugged in to charge.

That’s because the Mechanical Energy Harvesting Combo system “uses mechanical movement and solar irradiation” to generate enough power to keep the peripherals running.

We’ve seen mobile gadgets with solar panels before, but it often seems like a gimmick. It takes a long time in the sun to really get a decent charge when you’re using a tiny solar strip. But the thing is that keyboards and mice don’t actually use a lot of power, so they’re not bad targets for this sort of technology.

What makes Lenovo’s system a little more interesting is that in addition to a solar panel on the keyboard, there’s a dial in the upper left corner. Fidget with it for about 5 minutes and you should generate enough power for 30 minutes of typing… no sun required.

The mouse, meanwhile, has a crank built-in that you can extend and wind for about a minute to get 30 minutes of battery life during active usage.

It’s just a concept for now, which means Lenovo hasn’t announced plans to bring these devices to market. But the folks at PC Mag got a chance to go hands-on at CES.

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  1. I’ve never understood why any keyboard meant for desk use would need to be wireless. Or even want to be wireless. The hassle of having to charge them or replace their batteries is significantly greater than needing to plug them in (once and you’re done).

    The exception, of course, is media keyboards for use in the living room with TV PCs. But this lacks a trackpad or pointing stick, which those typically have.

    This “wireless is always better” trend needs to die. If it doesn’t need to move regularly, it doesn’t need to be wireless.

    1. At one point I would have agreed with you, but having a clean desk with minimal wires on it feels so good. Having to swap the batteries in my keyboard and mouse once a year or so hasn’t been anything like a hassle.

  2. So I spin the dial for…. 5 MINUTES, to get 30 minutes of use from it? So in an 8 hour work day, I’d turn that dial for 80 minutes every day.

    What’s the benefit of not needing to plug this monstrosity in? It’s not like its portable enough to go anywhere except for my desk. There’s no way I’m going to destroy my wrist turning that dial for 5 minutes every 30 minutes just for the pleasure of not having a wire connected to my keyboard.

    I understand that this is just a concept, and they are probably going to get much better numbers from this technology in the future. But even if 5 minutes of turning the dial gave me 1 month of use, I still don’t think I could be bothered. I’m not having any difficulty plugging my wireless keyboard in overnight once in a while.

    1. I thought that was just if it died completely but just using it will keep it charged….am I wrong

  3. I bought a Seiko Kinetic watch many years back. The band broke twice, but I never needed to change the battery. Now I wish that I could change the battery and the band would have never broken.

  4. So do I have to crank it for 5 min every day until the mechanical crank breaks?

    1. Right? I was thinking keypress energy was harvested for the keyboard, and for the mouse using the scroll wheel provided charging. Would have been way cooler than reality

      1. I also assumed keypress energy. Who hasn’t thought of that, when pondering energy usage? No one at Lenovo, apparently.

        1. The only thing I could think of that can effectively harvest keypress energy in that little distance of travel is piezoelectrics, you know, like the kind used in those stick lighters.
          Imagine every keypress having the weight of one of those triggers. That would suck to type on.
          Of course if ceramics exist that trade voltage for lower activation pressure that would be another thing, although even if they could get the force down to the same amount, I’m sure it would still be a very clicky keyboard.
          The issue then is probably cost to make all those switches.

    2. Nah, it also has a wired USB connection you can and probably will charge the mouse with.
      The real questions are, what do the two buttons on top of the mouse do (please oh please let one be a free scrolling switch) and how many years will the switches last until they start double clicking.