Wed Oct 22 2014
Live Index (1454 articles)

The Wearable Device That Powers Your Phone

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“An engineering marvel,” says Crain’s Chicago Business.

“Why has no one invented this before?” asks BuzzFeed.

They’re talking about a brand-new technology that dates back to the 19th century.

Before his death in 1931, Thomas Edison was on the verge of harnessing kinetic energy.

Today, his blueprint is about to tackle an extremely common – and irritating – problem that all of our smartphones face.

Even better… this clever creation is beautifully simple to use…

Want to Charge Your Phone? Get Up… And Get Moving!

I’m talking about battery life.

Or, more specifically, lack of it.

How many times do you check the battery on your mobile device each day… and start stressing when it gets low, or at the prospect of a dead battery?

How often do you have to find a power outlet to juice up? For me, it’s every morning or evening.

We’re slaves to our phones… and the energy that powers them.

But what if that energy came from… well, us?!

That’s the thinking behind a new invention called Ampy.

The premise is simple: Why waste all the energy you spend each day through walking, running, or cycling when you could instead put it to use by powering your mobile devices?

In an increasingly populated world, where energy demands are growing, this kind of cheap, highly efficient motion-based power generation is gaining popularity.

For example…

  • We’ve covered how this bio-battery tattoo uses sweat from exercise to generate energy to power devices.
  • How a school in England installed motion-activated floor tiles from energy-harvesting company, Pavegen, to generate electricity from footfall to power the lights and electronic devices.
  • How Georgia Tech researchers have used nanotechnology to create thin, plastic sheets that become electrically charged through motion from people and traffic. Using a special generator, one sheet stores 400 watts of power, which is used for lighting.

Ampy follows a similar, do-it-yourself energy generation method…

No Power Outlets Required

Measuring 2.5 inches square and weighing 140 grams, Ampy is a device that you either wear or slip into your pocket. The lithium-ion battery inside it captures energy from your daily movements, which you can then use to charge your phone or other USB-enabled devices, via a regular USB cable.

Simply hook up the phone to Ampy, and it charges as fast as it would at a regular power outlet.

The beauty of it is that the more activity you do, the more power you generate. For example, walking 10,000 steps per day with Ampy produces three hours of battery life. But you can generate the same amount of energy by simply jogging or biking for 30 minutes.

The battery will store a week’s worth of energy from motion and can also be charged via a conventional power outlet if needed.

This is an absolute no-brainer idea.

I mean, why would you not carry Ampy everywhere you go?

Make it part of your regular daily routine… walking the dog… jogging.

The Ampy team has also designed an accessories kit that captures energy from just about any exercise or movement.

And it’s perfect for when you’re sightseeing. Harness all the energy from walking around to charge your phone on the go, so you don’t risk it dying as you’re taking photos and videos.

With users essentially turning into mini power stations, the product has an associated smartphone app that tracks how much energy you create, how many calories burned, and the amount of carbon emissions you’ve saved by generating clean energy.

So who is the Ampy team?

From Prototype to Mass Production

The invention is the brainchild of Tejas Shastry, Alex Smith, and Mike Grier – engineering doctorates who met at an entrepreneurship class at Northwestern University.

The three have used their knowledge to not only design the technology that powers Ampy… but also shrink it down to a suitable size and weight, so the device can be worn or carried.

Indeed, they claim that conventional charging devices that capture kinetic energy would need to be three times bigger and heavier to produce the same power.

After much trial and error, multiple prototypes, and both in-house and consumer testing, the team now has a patent pending on the technology.

The result is a product that’s won the Northwestern University Venture Competition, plus the Clean Energy Trust Consumer Favorite Prize and the 1776 Global Challenge Cup Crowd Favorite.

Take a look…

The Ampy team currently has a Kickstarter campaign to drum up support and funding for manufacturing, so it can turn the prototype into a mass-produced product.

To help achieve this aim, the campaign is Dragon-certified, which means Ampy has manufacturing partners lined up and ready to go for the initial production run. Funding will also help meet the team’s production target within the stated funding limit and timeframe.

Ultimately, you’ll get to produce your own clean, environmentally friendly, renewable energy. And it’s good for you, too. It’s innovation at its smartest, simplest, and finest.


Martin Denholm

Live Index

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