Is that Power in your Pocket or are you just pleased to see me?
Each year, in the drizzle of Britain’s early summer, one question is foremost: how will I charge my phone at festivals such as Glastonbury? This year, Vodafone offers a thermal/kinetic offering called the Power Pocket.
The concept, developed by experts from the University of Southampton, follows the usual pattern. It harvests “green” renewable energy sources to solve an insignificant first world problem – and is modelled by infeasibly well-coiffed models sitting in crisp new tents, surrounded by fields completely lacking in mud.
Short of power?
Charging your phone at Glastonbury can be awkward, and the festival phone charger story is a key feature in mobile operators’ marketing calendars. This year Vodafone has combined a few key elements – sleeping bags, wellies and hot pants.
As usual, the pictures show a prototype or concept, the products almost certainly won’t be on sale at any festivals this summer, and have a vague delivery date of “later this year”.
“We are exploring two specific technologies to charge the Power Pocket,” said Professor Stephen Beeby from the University of Southampton. “Thermoelectrics and kinetic energy harvesting. Both represent cutting-edge research around smart fabrics and we are looking to integrate these into consumer products, in this case, a sleeping bag and a pair of denim shorts.”
In a day’s walking and dancing, the pocket can gather enough energy through thermal and kinetic energy to power a smartphone for more than four hours, Vodafone promised, while snoozing for eight hours in the sleeping bag provides an unlikely sounding 11 hours’ extra battery life.
Last year’s version of the story was the Booster Brolley from Vodafone, which used solar power, and included a 3G booster antenna. In 2011, Orange offered a more ambitious piezo-electric shirt which converts sound waves into energy. The previous year saw Orange’s themo-electric Power Wellies.
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