Charge your phone on the go
Design studio PENSA has sketched solar powered mobile device chargers that can be attached to any street post. Everyone thought of it but the simplicity of this design and the use of solar power to make it cost-free (apart from maintenance) might make it a viable product. It comes with a tray for resting your handset or your cup of coffee while you check your e-mail.
Why it matters
If energy providers see this as an opportunity to engage positively with users in cities, they might consider other areas where they could provide a plug-in source such as gardens, boulevards, open-air malls or museums. But how can excessive freeloaders be deterred from abusing the system?
OwnFone is a basic mobile phone with only a handful of keys that are custom-printed for each customer. When you purchase one, you choose two, four, eight, or twelve phone numbers you would want to be able to call, label them however you like, and choose a colour scheme for the faceplate.
The phone is marketed at kids and elderly people, and can be relatively useful as a back-up phone. It could also become the phone of choice if you’re going somewhere where losing it or having it stolen is a strong possibility.
The phone has a number of limitations: you can’t change the pre-selected numbers without changing the faceplate and you can only receive calls from numbers you’ve set up to call out to.
Assistant Professor Yi Cui at Stanford School of Engineering has found a way to store energy on textiles. The discovery could one day lead to new energy efficient batteries embedded in clothing that can be used to power your personal electronics.