Smartphone battery life isn’t great, and even the best handsets struggle to last more than a day on one charge. Long gone are the feature phone days when an old Nokia or Motorola would last the best part of a week if used sparingly and daily charging is now commonplace.
A group of tech developers have however come up with a novel, and environmentally friendly, way of topping up your handset on the move. Their gadget, known as Atom Generator, attaches to the wheel of a bicycle and charges as you ride.
There’s nothing new about harnessing pedal power, and bicycle lights have been running off dynamos attached to bikes for years, but turning the idea to the charging of a smartphone is a new concept.
Rather than actually wiring a handset directly up to a bike though, Atom Generator works in a more convenient manner. The gadget consists of a charging shoe which attaches to a bicycle wheel, into which fits a battery block. The block charges up when the wheels are in motion, and can then be plugged into a smartphone to power it. This means that should your handset run out, you don’t have to immediately jump on your bike and go for a spin.
Atom Generator is an inventive and forward-thinking way of harnessing natural power to run a mobile device, but it’s by no means the strangest way that has been found to charge a smartphone. We take a look at some of the more bizarre methods that people have used.
Japanese firm, TES NewEnergy has created a charging device that takes the form of a pan that can be placed on top of a campfire. In a similar way to solar panels, the gadget turns the heat energy of the fire into electricity and can charge a smartphone in 3-5 hours. However, since it relies on heat rather than light, it can also be used at night.
Researchers at the University of Southampton have recently teamed up with Nokia to harness the power of lightning and use it to charge a phone. The lightning bolt in question was a simulated one created in a laboratory, admittedly, but the university team claim to have successfully converted its power into a charge which could be used by a phone. They have recommended that no one tries it at home either.
Useful for campers, the Orange Foot Pump consists of a turbine that is rotated by a flow of air generated by pumping your foot on the device. While probably the most exhausting method on this list, it’s estimated that one minute of foot pumping can produce enough power for a five minutes phone call, which could be handy if your handset runs out when you’re out in the wild.