They may seem like such small devices – but cellphones have a surprisingly large environmental footprint, and the whole cellphone charging business is a serious pain in the butt to boot. Every cellphone model seems to requires a different type of charger (so excessive amounts of plastic cords and gadgets need to be produced for each type of phone), they suck copious amounts of vampire power when you leave them plugged into the wall, and it is so easy to lose your charger or forget to charge your phone if you are on the road a lot.
Well, for those of you who hate the pain of cell-phone charging, there is now a promising new technology that could get rid of the messy problem of cellphone chargers once and for all, AND eliminate 30 to 40 percent of the toxic heavy metals that are currently found in cell-phone batteries. New startup M2E (Motion 2 Energy) has developed a technology which converts the kinetic energy from minor movement into an electrical charge to power mobile communication devices: meaning in just a few years, we could all toss out our cellphone chargers and charge up our phones simply by walking around with them during the day!
Kinetic energy generation has been around forever (remember wind-up watches?) and we’ve touched on it here with the handcrank electronics chargers of Freeplay , the Sustainable Dance Club, and the People-Powered Gyms. However what is so new and so promising about M2E is the fact that their microgenerator technology allows even the slightest jostling movement to provide a significant charge. So instead of having to hand-crank your cell phone (which is possible, but doesn’t sound too fun), your phone would simply just need a little minor jostling in your bag or jacket while you walk around to stay fully charged. Sounds a lot easier than having to plug in and recharge every night, right?
It’s not only the environmental impact of this technology that seems so promising, but also the convenience. If an eco-friendly product actually makes life more convenient for most people, we know it won’t be a hard sell to get people to adopt it. That’s why we can’t wait for this new technology to make its way into mainstream consumer products. Right now M2E’s technology is only being used by the U.S Army to outfit troops on the battlefield. But we think it is only a matter of time before this useful new form of mobile energy generation becomes more widely available. Nokia, Motorola and Samsung, please start taking notes now…
If you are interested in this groundbreaking new technology, stay tuned for the Greener Gadgets Conference on February 1st in NYC. M2E’s Director of Business Development, Regan Warner-Rowe will be speaking on a panel about kinetic microgenerators, along with several other entrepreneurs in mobile renewable energy generation. My lovely sister (and Editor of Earth2tech) Katie Fehrenbacher will be moderating this discussion, and it is sure to be one of the highlights of the day. If you are in NYC, you should definitely try to make it out.