Harvest energy with umbrellas and your knees
The battery life of a mobile phone is always problematic, mainly because they don't last forever and ever and you're not always near a plug-socket (unless you're David O'Leary's wife and have noticed how his face looks like a shaving socket).
Well, various bright minds are working on a solution for this which will invariably never see the light of day.
First up, Vodafone have just revealed an innovation which could be great if you're one of the losers that likes to go to damp festivals. It's called the Booster Brolly and, basically, it's a multi-purpose umbrella which charges your phone while you tootle around. It'll be trialled with all the dads at the Isle of Wight Festival.
The umbrella has a USB port and a signal boosting in the brolly itself. Danielle Crook, Director of Brand Marketing at Vodafone said:“We wanted to create a practical but high tech innovation that could genuinely improve a festival-goers experience. The concept Booster Brolly does just that by merging cutting edge technology with a trusted and reliable British umbrella.” If you're a Vodaphone VIP customer and daft enough to go to IOW, then you'll be able to test-drive the device.
Elsewhere, some clever sods have come up with energy harvesting wearable electronic gadgets, powered by people's knees. In what sounds frankly preposterous, plectrum-like tabs inside the device will "pluck" energy generating arms, causing vibrations that produce electrical current while you walk around.
Dr Michael Pozzi, from Cranfield University in Bedfordshire, said: "There is an on-going project looking at manufacturing a more compact and truly wearable harvester. At the moment we are using precise but cost-effective manufacturing techniques for the plectra and casing and anticipate that remaining parts will be moulded industrially, slashing the cost. I'd put a cost tag of less than £10 for each harvester on a large-scale production."