Monday, July 25, 2011

Mobile Phone Charging via T-Shirt

Dressed up to party like a rock star, you made sure your wallet, house key, and car key are ready for the night. You’re up to meet your friend somewhere at the event venue so you can get your concert ticket, but there’s just one problem. Your mobile phone’s battery died on you and there are just too many people to be able to find your friend without luck. What will you do?

Thanks to technology, we can now charge our mobile phones with the use of our t-shirt and the sounds we hear in public.

Over at the United Kingdom, mobile phone giant Orange has been doing research and development of unique merchandise that takes the power of sound and converts it into energy to power mobile phones.

Orange aims to innovate different types of technology that are usable in the future to power mobile phones in an eco-friendly way.

Last year, they were able to use boots to power mobile phones by just continuously walking. This time around, they have done the designing and testing of a new prototype called the Orange Sound Charge. In a nutshell, it is a t-shirt that can charge mobile phones through sounds.

With the use of a piezoelectric film that is commonly found in home speakers, the t-shirt takes the power of sound and converts it into energy for mobile phones. As such, it uses the sound pressure waves and processes it into electrical charge, then stores it in a reservoir battery. This battery then becomes the agent to charge the mobile phone.

Piezoelectric effect produced by the film has actually been known since the late 19th century, but is just being utilized through advanced engineering in this modern age. This is effectively used nowadays in devices for security, sound production, and medical devices.

Why a t-shirt, you may ask. Mainly because it’s an everyday item that everyone has. Also, it’s because t-shirts have large surface areas that allow it to receive a lot of sound waves, which therefore creates lots of electric charge.

The Orange Sound Charge only needs a minimum of 80 decibels, which is normally produced in busy streets or the likes of crowds waiting outside Araneta Coliseum during concerts. With your t-shirt on and sounds from the environment coming all together, one can be able to save energy by being able to recharge two standard mobile phones or one smartphone.

With the Orange Sound Charge around, concert goers will surely benefit from the loud sound vibrations, particularly bass frequencies that creates enough shaking to produce electricity.

Don’t we all love developers who tire themselves to help us live an easier life in an eco-friendly way? At this age and day, almost everything is possible. Old studies combined with new ideas and imaginations are able to spark up great inventions.

The next time your phone dies on you when it’s very much needed – just like the scenario above –you can now wait for a few minutes till your phone boots up and be able to send an SMS of where you are to your friend. Simply amazing!

This article is my twenty-third contribution to Manila Bulletin -- one of the Philippines' leading broadsheets -- published on July 18, 2011 (Monday) in the TechNews Section. You can view the PDF version here.

Photo Source: Orange News


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