We use our mobile phones as if they were a physical attachment of ourselves. They are an ever-increasing staple in our daily lives and to be out is like losing a limb. As such, it is crucial that we keep them charged up throughout all hours of the day. It seems though, however, that as the technology in our phones becomes more advanced, the battery quality is not keeping up with the added features. As such, our batteries seem to die on us after no time at all, usually when we need them the most. If you’re an active person, though, that spends a good portion of your week staying active, a new development in the phone charger world may be for you. Using the magic of kinetic energy harvesting, chargers have been developed that convert your movement into electrical potential to charge your phone! In this article you’ll find out how they work and which products you can buy for yourself.What does it do?
There are various styles for this type of charger. The main premise is that you attach your charger to a location on your body that will receive the most vigorous movement, that also matches the desired motion of the charger. The most commonly recommended areas are on the arm and the leg. With the motion of your body, your charger’s small generator will be moved and powered, generating small amounts of electricity, all of which will go towards charging up your phone.
As of yet, there doesn’t seem to be any of these chargers in commercial circulation that has been universally applauded. Right now it seems that they are not quite as efficient as standard portable chargers, such as power banks and solar panel chargers. They are still a relatively new concept and have very little electrical potential to work with. As such, it is unlikely that they’ll be at the level of solar panels any time soon. That said, they are still great renewable chargers that will charge your battery up when you do any exercise.
Ideas for the future
This kind of design has not been confirmed by any phone manufacturer as of yet, but the premise of having kinetic chargers installed in all phones would be fantastic. Having your phone battery connected up to a constant trickle of power would greatly increase your battery life and save you from awkward situations when you most need your phone.
This would most benefit those who are outdoors, walking around or doing exercise, which is perfect, because you are less likely to have access to electricity. If you are sat at home, your phone may not be charging itself, but chances are you’ll have access to a mains electricity, so you wouldn’t need it.
AMPY Move – £38
Probably the most well known of all kinetic chargers, the AMPY Move is a wearable device charger that also operates with a power bank function. This means that you can charge your phone in realtime, as you exercise, or you can charge your power bank up to charge your phone whenever you wish. This gives it an edge over most of its kinetic competitors as it allows people to use a mixture of mains electricity and kinetic if so needed.
The device claims to provide 24 hours extra battery life for most smartphones; however, the reality has been quite different. In order for this to be true, you definitely need to use your mains electricity, which sort of defeats the idea of it being a renewable, kinetic charger. According to some users, you would have to shake it for days without stopping to fully charge your AMPY.
That said, this device is still a useful one to have. It should, however, perhaps be thought of as a hybrid charger, rather than a fully kinetic one.
American Red Cross FR1 – £30
Because many of the other kinetic charger models have been run out of business through lack of efficiency, the American Red Cross made a product that is still human powered but not in the same manner as the abovementioned product. The FR1 uses a crank, just like the wind up torches you may have seen, to charge up your phone.
This is far more efficient than the AMPY Move for charging your phone, but it is definitely less convenient. In order for you to provide a decent amount of charge with the FR1, you would have to sit for quite a while turning that crank. It is, however, a great backup charger for if you are camping or just generally without mains electricity.
This model also comes with a radio, weather updates and torch. As such, it does make for one suave camping device.