6 strange ways to power your cellphone

posted on July 11, 2011, at 6:30 AM

At last month’s Glastonbury festival in the U.K., music fans got to try out a new T-shirt that powers up their mobile phones. The shirts are made of a special material called piezoelectric film that is able to turn vibrations from the concert music into an electrical charge — and then give your cellphone a quick boost. It’s just one of a number of strange new ways to get your smartphone some juice. Here are five others: 1. Heartbeat chargerScientists are developing a system to give devices a charge from the human body. it would involve embedding stacks of tiny microchips in the body that would get power from the movement of an organ or body part. “It’s conceivable that you could have them implanted inside your body, so that, say, every time your heart beats you can power your handheld device,” says Nicholas Deleon at CrunchGear.2. Wind-and-solar-powered chargerIn 2010, two engineering undergrads in India created bicycle helmets that store wind and solar energy. Wear the helmet, which is equipped with solar cells and a small fan for wind energy, on a 40-minute bike ride, and you collect enough juice to charge your phone. Though it’s still being developed, it could soon offer bicyclists further reason to be smug about their energy conservation efforts.  3. Pan ChargerCamping with your Android? Fear not, you don’t need an outlet to keep it working. The Pan Charger, created by a Japanese company, allows the tech savvy cave man to charge his phone using any heat source — a campfire will do. just set the pan over the fire and plug in your phone or MP3 player via a USB cord. “Unlike a solar power generator, our pot can be used regardless of time of day and weather, while its small size allows people to easily carry it in a bag in case of evacuation,” says co-developer Ryoji Funahashi.4. Voice chargerSouth Korean researchers are working on a device that would power your phone using the sound of your voice — or, better yet, a noisy traffic jam or a plane overhead. while it’s still in development — don’t expect it at the Apple store just yet — it works using a special sound-absorbing pad. when sound waves hit it, they cause zinc wires to move, generating a small electrical current. 

5. Fan chargerAnother iPhone charger, this one from the Netherlands, also uses wind power, but the bike ride is optional. The iFan looks like an iPhone case with a small fan attached to the top to harness wind energy. it can charge a phone in 6 hours. but you can speed up the process by holding it out a car window or, you guessed it, taking your iPhone on a bike ride, attached to your handlebars.

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