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Talk-Powered Cell Phones Won't Need Batteries

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the talk-charging dept.

Cellphones 197

alphadogg writes "It's possible that in the future conversations on your cell phone could generate enough electrical power to run the phone, without batteries. That's one possible outcome of recent work by a team of Texas researchers, who appear to have discovered that by building a certain type of piezoelectric material to a specific thickness (about 21 nanometers, compared to a typical human hair of 100,000 nanometers), you can boost its energy production by 100 percent. And the technology could power not just phones, but a whole range of low-power mobile devices and sensors. The breakthrough is an example of 'energy harvesting' that can convert one kind of energy, such as vibrations or solar rays, into electricity."

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Isn't this fairly common already (5, Funny)

Mike-the-Mikado (889632) | more than 5 years ago | (#25982681)

That's why people are always shouting at them?

Re:Isn't this fairly common already (5, Funny)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 5 years ago | (#25982949)

I see you've met my sister. She comes through clear as a bell from 8 states away. Next time, I'll have her turn her phone on...

Re:Isn't this fairly common already (2, Informative)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983367)

It takes 1000 screaming people to generate a watt's worth of energy (one joule of energy per second).

Re:Isn't this fairly common already (5, Funny)

M1rth (790840) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983767)

If she's that loud, her vocalizations could probably power other "battery operated" devices she may use...

If you can get the power down (4, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 5 years ago | (#25982965)

to anywhere near low enough to work with the piezo then you might as well use a very small battery.

Current cell phone technology is perhaps four orders of magnitude away from piezo power. At ten times the piezo power level, say 10mW, you may as well use small cheap batteries. One non-rechargable AAA cell would run for approx 700-800 hours at those levels.

Re:If you can get the power down (4, Informative)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983215)

?
Your math. It is very wrong.

A typical AAA battery is 1.5v @ about 900 mAH.
Round that up and you get 1500 mWH.

1500 mWH / 10 mW = 150 hours.

Re:If you can get the power down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25983953)

Why would anyone choose using a battery, even a very small and long lasting one, over generating the power with the voice? Completely eliminating the use of batteries for cellphones would be a huge measure in reducing pollution.

Re:If you can get the power down (2, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#25984049)

I don't talk enough on the phone to power it for standby. But what about one powered by motion, much like an automatic watch? Does it generate enough power?

I personally hate batteries, at least the current technology. Perhaps ultra-capacitors one day...

Traffic noises are helpful now! (4, Funny)

billstewart (78916) | more than 5 years ago | (#25982987)

Hey, my phone's running low on power, let me find some heavy traffic and big trucks so it'll be loud enough for me to hear you!"

Next thing you know you'll have to shake your phone to get features to work (oh, wait...)

Re:Traffic noises are helpful now! (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#25984015)

Phone... shaking...? For... features...? Is that what they call it nowadays? ;)

Re:Isn't this fairly common already (1)

mattycole (1397921) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983045)

who modded this insightful?

Re:Isn't this fairly common already (4, Insightful)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983233)

Insightful is the standard replacement for the Funny mod. Funny doesn't give karma, but Insightful does, so Funny posts are often modded Insightful by generous mods.

Re:Isn't this fairly common already (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983755)

Insightful is the standard replacement for the Funny mod. Funny doesn't give karma, but Insightful does, so Funny posts are often modded Insightful by generous mods.

Great. The guy gets useless karma, but his post invites unnecessary rebuttals.

Re:Isn't this fairly common already (4, Insightful)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983855)

Talk to CmdrTaco. Of course, it's been this way for about 8 years, so don't expect anything to change. Of course, that doesn't stop them from the Web 2.0 paradigm of replacing a perfectly usable and nice home page design with something eye-gougingly ugly and much harder to use.

Re:Isn't this fairly common already (0)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983935)

Talk to CmdrTaco. Of course, it's been this way for about 8 years, so don't expect anything to change.

I'm not complaining and don't want anything changed. I just think the users' insistence on rewarding funny's with karma has unwanted consequences.

Re:Isn't this fairly common already (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#25984037)

What? That Slashdot gets funnier? $deity forbid!

Re:Isn't this fairly common already (5, Insightful)

BluBrick (1924) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983963)

On the other hand, "funny" can now be used as the mod you give to "epic fail" posts (e.g. dead wrong or missed the joke). It can raise those posts up above the trolls for all to see, and open the authors to public embarrassment, all the while failing to reward them with karma. It's really not an unfair use of the moderation system. Who said funny has to mean laughing with the author - can't it mean laughing at the author?

Re:Isn't this fairly common already (2, Insightful)

rgo (986711) | more than 5 years ago | (#25984271)

+1 Funny

Re:Isn't this fairly common already (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983513)

Somebody who's obviously been within a couple of blocks of a standard cell phone user.

Re:Isn't this fairly common already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25983155)

Sure it's common... like the self propelled vibrating dildo...

Re:Isn't this fairly common already (1)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983525)

Doesn't the average Harley Davidson meet this description? :)

Re:Isn't this fairly common already (1)

RJFerret (1279530) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983197)

That's why people are always shouting at them?

I haven't heard anyone shouting in a cell phone in a long time, poke them with their thumbs, watch youtube videos on them, take videos at concerts, check their calendars, take pictures of everyone, check weather, read their email and text messages, send same...

Talk? Um, around here talking into them is illegal when driving.

So I guess all those phones will always be dead?

Certainly their chargers long lost...

a return to Pyramid Power (5, Funny)

infonography (566403) | more than 5 years ago | (#25982691)

Just set it in a Pyramid and use pyramid power to keep it topped off. That is what they ancient Egyptians did.

Don't forget to call your Mummy.

Re:a return to Pyramid Power (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#25984225)

No man, you need to put it in a cube! A cube has like, six pyramids worth of power!

not enough energy to power a modern cell phone (5, Insightful)

liraz (77590) | more than 5 years ago | (#25982695)

Most modern phones are probably much too power hungry to be get enough energy from audio vibrations, even you manage to ramp up the efficiency close to 100%, which is unlikely to ever be practical.

Where this could be useful is in specialized low-power devices that get bundled into emergency survival [ready.gov]
kits.

OTOH, future cellular devices might incorporate enough improvements into power efficiency (e.g., e-ink displays [wikipedia.org] ), such that you could significantly extend battery life and perhaps even power a very basic subset of the phone when the battery runs out.

Also, harnessing vibrations efficiently might be very useful in surgically implanted medical devices where replacing the battery can be rather inconvenient [wikipedia.org] .

Re:not enough energy to power a modern cell phone (4, Funny)

InlawBiker (1124825) | more than 5 years ago | (#25982715)

Mmmm, I dunno. If this turns out to be true my wife could talk on the phone enough to power the whole grid.

Re:not enough energy to power a modern cell phone (2, Informative)

orkybash (1013349) | more than 5 years ago | (#25982873)

Regarding your last idea, I've interned in the medical device industry so I might have some perspectives... basically, if something like this couldn't power a cell phone it certainly couldn't power sustained operation of a pacemaker! Charge a battery for a defibrillator maybe, but even then you're taking huge risks with rechargable batteries with regard to memory. Basically, even if you were able to use this to increase battery life, you would still decrease *predictability* of the battery life, which is a huge no-no in that industry (doctors need to know pretty well when the thing needs to come out!)

Re:not enough energy to power a modern cell phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25983151)

How about Wind Power?

Stick a mini-windmill to a cell and your good to go. Just lend it to a gabby teenager, you'll be powered up for a year.

Re:not enough energy to power a modern cell phone (4, Funny)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983163)

His heart implant is failing hand me a vibrator stat!

Re:not enough energy to power a modern cell phone (0)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983229)

Most modern phones are probably much too power hungry to be get enough energy from audio vibrations, even you manage to ramp up the efficiency close to 100%, which is unlikely to ever be practical.

Well, that depends. If the phone network ever goes microcellular (with cell "towers" every city block or less) you might be able to get away with phones that don't require batteries. Probably not truly voice-powered, but possibly using some other biological input ... heat, mechanical, footfalls, whatever.

Actually, now that I think about it, they should just run the things from a small bank of thermocouples mounted around the pickup. Then hand them out to all members of Congress.

At least then, we might find a use for all that hot air.

Re:not enough energy to power a modern cell phone (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983265)

I sure wish I could get away from phones without batteries too...

Re:not enough energy to power a modern cell phone (1)

extrasolar (28341) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983613)

Yeah, but maybe, in the future, they might find that the convenience of never having to charge your phone is worth more than having the ability to watch TV/videos, browse the web, listen to music, get directions on a map, download ringtones, take pictures, and purchase all kinds of other pointless stuff to do on your phone. We're in a recession afterall, priorities people! Plus I imagine that such a phone would probably be ubersmall and uberlight.

Free electricity (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25982717)

I'm sure I could light my whole house if I could turn how much my wife speaks in electricity !

That's just great. (5, Funny)

HtR (240250) | more than 5 years ago | (#25982719)

Wonderful. I can just imagine being in a restaurant or an elevator with a group of people with phones all saying "Low Power - please speak louder."

Re:That's just great. (1)

bobdotorg (598873) | more than 5 years ago | (#25982877)

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW!!!!!!!!!

GOOD!!! OUCH!!!! (as a fist-powered brickbat comes crashing down on his head)

Re:That's just great. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25982885)

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?!?! Oh hi just charging my phone.

Re:That's just great. (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983251)

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? No, the battery's dead ... he got hit by a truck.

Voice recognition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25982725)

Combine this with voice recognition apps like www.vlingo.com and cell phones in the not-too-distant future will bear as much resemblance to current day phones as they did in 1990.

Why don't they use body heat? (3, Informative)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 5 years ago | (#25982739)

And, no I am not talking about the Matrix...ok...it crossed my mind.

I remember there was also a digital watch that worked on body heat. I could not find that one, but I found another, non-digital. http://www.roachman.com/thermic [roachman.com] .

Re:Why don't they use body heat? (5, Insightful)

Tuidjy (321055) | more than 5 years ago | (#25982939)

Why would you want one? We have watches working off the constant motion of our body/arm/wrist/whatever. Mine takes a few days before it winds down. I think that anyone that stays immobile for that long will not be doing so great in respect of body heat, either.

Re:Why don't they use body heat? (1)

sribe (304414) | more than 5 years ago | (#25982983)

The harvesting of heat energy always depends on the temperature differential between two materials. The temperature differential between your body and ambient air is so low that it can only be used to produce very, very, very little power. It just so happens that a watch can be designed to run on very, very, very little power--way less than required by a cell phone, you know with its little transmitter and all that kind of stuff ;-)

So cool... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25982741)

These could be wall panel in loud factories and make the electric meters run slower....someday, maybe even backwards...wait....that darn 2nd law of Thermodynamics, again! Okay, slower.

Re:So cool... (2, Funny)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983113)

These could be wall panel in loud factories and make the electric meters run slower....someday, maybe even backwards...wait....that darn 2nd law of Thermodynamics, again! Okay, slower.

I'm sure you could come up with noise sources that don't draw from the grid to get the meter to run backwards without violating entropy. It all depends on not keeping the system closed.

One way would be to regularly feed humans to the machinery. They don't consume power off of your grid, but they sure do make a lot of noise, especially when inserted feet first.

Free energy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25982771)

Does this mean with enough teenage girls in the house you could get all the free energy you want?

Re:Free energy? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25983183)

Does this mean with enough teenage girls in the house you could get all the free energy you want?

Yes, yes, yes, yes. Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES YES YES YES! YES-YES-YES-YES! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Re:Free energy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25983625)

Congratulations! You've just invented the voice-powered vibrator.

Physics might say otherwise (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25982777)

Lets assume that a minimum channel capacity (bits/s) is required to support a conversation, even if we use the absolute best vocoder that eliminates all redundant information. Shannon's Law [wikipedia.org] then says that for a given noise power (set by the environment) there is a minimum signal power which must be transmitted to get error free transmission. Again we are assuming we have an optimal codec, which achieves Shannon's bound. This sets the absolute minimum power consumption of an ideal radio telephone. A real life phone will use more than this. My guess is that this theoretical minimum power is greater than the power which can be harvested from the human voice.

Re:Physics might say otherwise (1)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983145)

"Won't need batteries" may be a bit of an exageration, but even if the new tech only increases time between required charges a bit, it seems like a win to me.

Re:Physics might say otherwise (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25983221)

I agree, the power generated by a human voice can't possibly exceed a few milliwatts, and is likely less than 1 milliwatt.

However, assuming the average person weighs 150lbs, the energy potential of each step is quite a reasonable amount. Perhaps by putting a miniature generator in each shoe that compresses 1/4" with each step and turns that compression force into electricity we could power something like a current tech. cell phone. Then all one would have to do is pace back and forth while talking (a fairly common practice even without shoe-generation), and never worry about battery life.

The biggest hurdle with such a plan would be transmission of the power from the feet to the phone, but at least the power generation potential is sufficient.

This is very interesting technology (2, Funny)

Adult film producer (866485) | more than 5 years ago | (#25982791)

I can imagine at some point in the future it would benefit us to produce these in massive quantities, gigantic vats 10 stories tall, thousands of incubators for these piezo powerplants.. load them up in special military aircraft and spray them far and wide.. across the great plains, the bread basket of america., absorbed into the living breathing cellulose of corn and wheat and soy beans.. through the miracle of the modern food chain all human beings would become self powering devices capable of extraordinary feats, possibly jumping tall buildings in a single leap? In the dark our eyes would glow and a vibrant radiance of glorious splendor would be self perpetuating at the local discoteks.

Re:This is very interesting technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25983369)

It's spelled discotheque not discotek.

Re:This is very interesting technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25983907)

depends on what language you're using. if it's French then it's discothèque. if it's Italian or Spanish then it's discoteca.

Technology not for some married men (5, Funny)

reginaldo (1412879) | more than 5 years ago | (#25982801)

I don't know if this would work for me, because I usually just end up listening on my phone.

Yes, honey. Ok, honey. Will do, honey.

Re:Technology not for some married men (1)

BagOBones (574735) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983107)

Ya, I was thinking the same thing. It would only work for woman to woman calls were they are able to fully duplex the conversation without pause.

I don't think you can power any think on uh-hu, yes, maybe, ok, and goodbye.

Re:Technology not for some married men (3, Insightful)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983123)

I don't know if this would work for me, because I usually just end up listening on my phone. Yes, honey. Ok, honey. Will do, honey.

Yeah, but you could sell the excess power your wife generates to the utility.

I think women talking on cell phones will solve our future energy needs.

Re:Technology not for some married men (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25983757)

As much as you are joking, it's an interesting point.

If all it takes are audio vibrations to keep the phone powered, and if being a phone means that it itself could generate audio vibrations (sound), then couldn't you argue that it could power itself? Isn't that a perpetual motion machine?

If the audio power output of the phone were assumed to roughly equal the audio power output of your voice, then there's no way it could further supply any power for whatever assortment of radios, interfaces and other junk any basic cellphone would require.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but this seems pretty easily debunked.

Texas (2, Funny)

quenda (644621) | more than 5 years ago | (#25982803)

Its not a coincidence that this story is from Texas. Other locales may lack sufficient vocal power.

However Olivetti is working on a cellphone powered like a self-winding watch, by arm-motion.

Bah. Back in my day... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25982829)

...we had talk powered land lines. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Bah. Back in my day... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25982905)

Don't you mean talk powered sea lines?

Supply energy to the world! (4, Funny)

rossz (67331) | more than 5 years ago | (#25982859)

Just hand these out to teenage girls and we'll have enough power to supply the entire world for all its needs.

Re:Supply energy to the world! (2, Funny)

Repton (60818) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983043)

Nah, for that you need a tiny dynamo underneath each button...

Re:Supply energy to the world! (4, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983259)

Nah, for that you need a tiny dynamo underneath each button...

Bad girls have that under their zipper.

hmm... (1)

amclay (1356377) | more than 5 years ago | (#25982863)

Sweet. Only 5 years till I have to figure out that this causes brain tumors or not!

One HUNDRED Per Cent?? (3, Insightful)

cowtamer (311087) | more than 5 years ago | (#25982865)

Wow, that is amazing!!!

Now if someone could tell me what the baseline of this increase is, we might actually learn something...

(seriously, does anyone know what the efficiency of current nano-piezoelectric power generators are?)

Re:One HUNDRED Per Cent?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25982909)

(seriously, does anyone know what the efficiency of current nano-piezoelectric power generators are?)

It's similar to that of an unladen swallow.

Re:One HUNDRED Per Cent?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25983175)

I think they meant 100% increase in power production from *nothing*. Which is really dumb way of saying, there is no baseline power production, now they produce power.

Bad word choice.

gives a whole new meaning.. (1)

Jorgandar (450573) | more than 5 years ago | (#25982935)

Can you hear me now? ...no? HOW ABOUT NOW?!?!!!!!

Re:gives a whole new meaning.. (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983071)

YEAH NO I AM AT THE MOVIES WHAT? NO, WE'RE IN THAT NEW FILM, YEAH IT'S GREAT (really shouting) HANG ON I CAN BARELY HEAR YOU YEAH THE GUY DIES AT THE END I'VE SEEN IT

please god no

Re:gives a whole new meaning.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25984261)

You got it all wrong, mate!

It's not the shouting that generate the power; it's the Texan tongue rolling accent which creates the power, hence it was invented by Texan Engineer.

Cheers,

bspower (1)

javelinco (652113) | more than 5 years ago | (#25982947)

It is fully powered by the emanations of the mystical bs! Our marketing departments are now revenue generators (well, generators period)! Hallelujah for bspower! Finally, a cheap and ubiquitous energy source for the masses!

New idea, meet old idea? (2, Interesting)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#25982981)

I seem to recall a time years ago that a PC manufacturer (perhaps Compaq?) claimed to have developed a keyboard that could recharge a laptop battery by the kinetic energy of the key movement.

Yet for some reason we don't all have those...

Of course, very few people do much typing on their laptops now, but there are some people who presumably could have found it quite useful.

Music! (1)

grumpyman (849537) | more than 5 years ago | (#25982997)

So I can sing to power my mp3 player while I'm listening to it? Cool :)

Re:Music! (2, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983147)

Just hold one of the headphones up to it once in a while.

Gas power (1)

incognito84 (903401) | more than 5 years ago | (#25982999)

Finally, a way to harness all the gas energy I produce on a regular basis.

Re:Gas power (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983315)

Sorry, this is about speech.

I'm not yelling.... (4, Funny)

Jazz-Masta (240659) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983035)

...I'm just charging my batteries.

"battery's almost dying, I need to talk some more, let me call AOL and try to cancel."

Marine Sound Powered Phones (2, Informative)

TOGSolid (1412915) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983077)

As a maritime employee, I use sound powered phones on a daily basis. While they work great and definitely get the job done, they're always a little on the quiet side and tinny sounding. They generate just enough juice to get that low quality voice across. Even if boosted by 100%, I highly doubt that'd be enough for a cellphone, not one capable of doing anything besides just talking at least. There still would have to be some sort of battery in the device to allow you to dial and establish the initial cell signal. I could see some clever implementations of an improved piezoelectric device though. It'd help slow down battery drain if you're constantly on the cellphone at least a little.

What are they "powering"? (1)

lawaetf1 (613291) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983083)

The mW needed to transmit the cell signal? Or the power needed to illuminate the 2x2" full color screen with real-time GPS positioning, speakerphone, and fluid game play?

The former.. possible. The latter.. only if you put the phone in a paint mixer.

Won't they still need batteries? (2, Insightful)

TheSambassador (1134253) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983119)

It sounds like talking will just provide a way to charge the phone... it's still going to need some sort of power source to be running when you're not talking into it. Isn't this more like an alternator for a car?

Re:Won't they still need batteries? (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983289)

it's still going to need some sort of power source to be running when you're not talking into it.

Depends. If the user is like my girlfriend it will never be on unless her mouth is running anyway.

Bullshit (2, Insightful)

lyml (1200795) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983141)

Bullshit, there is no way shouting would produce the required amount of power to operate a phone, theese things are very powerhungry.

Re:Bullshit (1)

maugle (1369813) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983453)

They're not talking about powering your do-everything smartphone with the ultra-bright screen. They're talking about an extremely basic device that would just make phone calls - nothing else.
Of course, I'm still a bit skeptical myself. I've seen these "sound will power our gadgets!" articles before.

Re:Bullshit (1)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983471)

Doesn't much matter. Sound carries *extremely* low power, until you get up into frequencies far, far beyond what people can produce (with their mouths, anyway. Give me a bean burrito, and I might produce watts at 400 kHz).

Noisier environments ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25983143)

Even if a voice isn't powerful enough, what about noisy environments? Outdoors beside HVAC equipment? Surely that'd be enough to power LED lighting or help solar panels trickle-charge battery banks?

How about if I'm just listening? (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983149)

Now that the talk part has been solved, we just need to work on the listening part [wikipedia.org] .

Great, now can I power my laptop (1)

sectionboy (930605) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983199)

by typing on it?

Re:Great, now can I power my laptop (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983281)

by typing on it?

No, by blowing heavily into a tube to run the generator. This has the added benefit of operating a built-in breathalyzer, to help prevent drunk typing.

Uh oh. Piezo-electric butterflies? (1)

Roadkills-R-Us (122219) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983219)

Now every phone conversation can start a tornado or hurricane somewhere!

OMFG! Solar rays! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25983247)

This is the worst kind of irresponsible technology. Idiots! The last thing we need is for the Earth to be bombarded by solar rays.

Vibrations == Energy???? (1)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983297)

I'm filing my patent for my newly invented perpetual motion device.... in a dildo.
I think I'll call it the "Infinibrator"

Do the math, Barbie (4, Insightful)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983327)

It does not matter if they improve the microphone efficiency to exactly 100% The amount of power in any reasonable voice is miniscule at best. And most of the power is in the lower part of the register, where the sound wavelengths are several meters long. And to get even a fraction of the power out of a wave, you need a microphone at least a quarter wavelength across.

So even if cell phone microphones were a foot in diameter, they'd only capture a few milliwatts on voice peaks. And cell phones need a couple watts of power full-time to output a watt or so to the antenna. No way, Jose, and by at least three zeros after the "1".

Re:Do the math, Barbie (4, Informative)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983897)

A little help for those too lazy to do the math:

Power per area transmitted by a sound wave:

F = p^2 / (rho0 c)
where
p = rms pressure variations in the sound wave (.01-.05 Pa or so for human voice)
rho0 = density of air (1.3 kg/m3 typ.)
c = speed of sound in air (330 m/s)

I get 1 microwatt per square meter. So for a 20-cm2 cell phone, 2 nanowatts, ignoring the receiver-coupling issues mentioned by the parent post.

No way, Jose, and by at least three zeros after the "1".

Let's make that nine.

Re:Do the math, Barbie (1)

sanjosanjo (804469) | more than 5 years ago | (#25984259)

Actually, the article says they increase the efficiency by 100% - which tells me that they doubled their efficiency from whatever they began with. But, in any case, this is minuscule amount of power that we are talking about.

Our energy shortage is over! (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983507)

With this new technology, I'm pretty sure my wife can power our entire house! Of course things will get pretty dark and cold when she's not home, but that happens already anyway.

Re:Our energy shortage is over! (1)

defireman (1365467) | more than 5 years ago | (#25984123)

I can see cell phone companies swarming around this technology as soon as its feasible. What better way for them to profit by encouraging customers to convert cell phone minutes into electricity, instead of having them give the money to the utilities?

Just like the guitar pickup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25983747)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pickup_(music)

It could be possible if the battery powered the mic.

No way. (1)

S-100 (1295224) | more than 5 years ago | (#25983833)

The current cellular network infrastructure requires RF power in the milliwatts. Even a 100% conversion of the acoustical energy would come up short by many orders of magnitude.

Using the same "it's possible..." logic you could come up with any number of highly improbably scenarios.

an idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25983933)

your cell phone battery dies..no fear because your cell phone can make at least one call if you shake it(like those flashlights)

Some numbers (1)

Bob-taro (996889) | more than 5 years ago | (#25984009)

A little googling found that: a cell phone requires something on the order of 1W (while in use). Speaking in a normal voice produces on the order of 0.00001W of sound energy. I don't think cell phone power requirements could ever get that low (unless the cell towers were much closer together). Interesting idea, though.

There is just one little problem... (1)

B3b0pt (1423449) | more than 5 years ago | (#25984147)

How would you be able to receive a call without any power?
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