Thursday, February 3, 2011

Charge your cell phone while cycling!

Might this be incentive for teenagers who have their phone plastered to their ear, or fingers clickety-clicking text messages on a tiny keyboard, for 18 hours a day?

Nokia is introducing a cell-phone charger that's driven off the front wheel. (It uses the well-established technology of a dynamo in contact with the front tire, like generator-lights.) Ten minutes of cycling is supposed to be good for 28 minutes of yakkin'.

It's being introduced next month in India. One reviewer observes that the cost is "a good chunk of what an average bicycle costs here," so it might not catch on.

I had a couple generator-lights as a kid, and never cared much for them. For one thing, I didn't like the noise and resistance of the thing rubbing against the tire. And at least back in those days, if you stopped, so did your light. If they had a capacitor or a battery in the circuit, maybe that problem could be overcome, particularly in this day and age of low-power LEDs.

Also, I'm not very comfortable with the little look-down-at-it phone bracket. Another distraction.

A detailed spec sheet (PDF) fpr the phone charger can be seen HERE, should you be interested. From the text (English from some other language?): "Fun to Use - Blaster music from the mobile phone while bicycling and charging."


Scott said...

I'm curious if a hybrid-style charger would be feasible. Whenever you hit the brakes, your brake pads are the dynamo or generator engaging with a load dependent on the pressure applied to the brake handles. It takes about 100W for a typical rider+bike to accelerate to 12.5MPH. Therefore, at takes roughly the same energy to decelerate from 12.5MPH to a full stop. Of course that equates to about 100W/seconds, or .03W/hours. You'd have to do a lot of stopping to charge up your phone.

Alexandra Madison said...

There is a pretty economical alternative for the Nokia phone charger. I got a USB charger kit for my husband - he wanted to use the stats app and gps on his HTC while riding, but the battery would be dead in 45 minutes.

He is happy with the kit. Check it out if interested.