Microsoft Research Cambridge, UK has developed a wireless input device called the Peppermill. Nicolas Villar and Steve Hodges have presented a paper describes this as a human-powered user interface device sourcing its power from the physical effort required to operate it. It describes a technique by which a geared DC motor and a simple circuit used to enable interaction-powered rotary input devices. Here is the paper in PDF format - The peppermill: a human-powered user interface device (download size : 2.66 MB) (source : Todd Bishop’s Microsoft Blog)
“The Peppermill controller is designed as generic, wireless interface device for rotary input. It takes its name from its design and operation, which is reminiscent of a culinary pepper grinder. To operate it, the user holds the device in one hand and turns the rotary knob with the other. The knob can be freely turned clockwise or anti-clockwise (A). The handle of the device includes three pushbuttons, color-coded green, red and blue (B). These buttons can be pressed by the user while turning the knob and act as modifiers for the rotary action, resulting in a total of four input DOF………”
Now talking of Hand powered devices, here’s another – A Microsoft branded Hand powered Torch bought from Microsoft Company Stores.
It has got a foldable hand crank which has to be rotated to charge the Torch. The torch also has a port which can be used for charging Nokia mobiles via its charging port in case of emergency. It also has a compass to show the direction.
Please note its just a Microsoft Branded Commercial product and not related to Microsoft Research.