If you're sick of waiting for Tesla-inspired wireless power
to become a reality, allow me to offer you the next best thing: motion-based power for your portable devices.
According to eco-blog SmartPlanet
a company called M2E power, created last year to investigate the possibilities of charging your devices on-the-go with waste energy from your movements, has succeeded in building prototype mobile chargers based around their technologies.
The design is pretty simple: a lithium-ion battery does the juice storing, and the energy is generated when a magnet moves through a series of coils as the device gets jostled about. Put it in your backpack and go about your daily business, and you'll have a nice emergency charger ready when you need it. If you sap it and need more, you'll also be able to steal your company's electricity thanks to the ability to connect it up to the mains for rapid charging.
The technology, developed at Boise State University, is pretty smart – optimised, as it is, for the slow gait most of us favour rather than the constant rapid motion required by other motion-based generators to produce usable current – but has a long way to go: M2E Power states that the current revision of the device takes a full six hours to add just under an hour of talktime to an average mobile 'phone. Now, I don't know about you, but I'm not usually on the go for almost a full working day – I'm usually found sat on my backside in front of the PC, during which time the device won't be generating much of anything.
That said, there are definite applications for the technology – a GPS which uses your walking motions to recharge itself, for example. I'd still like to see the efficiency rise quite considerably before I'd be likely to buy one myself – and I say that as the proud owner of a Chinese solar charger which has an in-built lithium-ion battery and a USB socket.
Could you see the future being portable devices that harness wasted motion to recharge themselves, or is the technology never likely to hit the efficiencies required to make it usable? Share your thoughts over in the forums