Jay Whelan's “lightbulb” moment hit while he was undergoing physical therapy for a shoulder injury. He was bored and staring out the clinic window as he spun a wheel with a hand pedal attached. The device was designed to strengthen his shoulder muscles.
“I thought, ‘What if I could capture the energy I'm expending on this exercise and put it into the (electric) power grid?’ ” recalled Whelan, who has an industrial engineering background and an MBA from Boston College.
Whelan knew electricity could be generated from fitness equipment, including spinning bikes, but he wasn't sure how long it would take to develop the right equipment and technology.
“It was a matter of hiring engineers ...