Mobile Device Roundup: Charging Up Without the Grid

Wind Power and Wind-Ups

Wee wind turbines are reaching a point of efficiency where they can add supplemental power to an iPhone, digital camera, or MP3 player. The Kinesis packs a whirly-gig and a solar panel to give the best of both worlds, and the $60 Mini Kin wind charger gives you a suction-cup arm, perfect for attaching to the forehead. The Hymini can harness enough wind power from a one-hour bike ride to give you 50 photos on a digital camera, and the company laid out a larger selection of gizmos at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show, including a hand-crank system and stationary bike attachment able to charge a laptop. Finally, this tent-top turbine Designed for the Glastonbury festival charges a battery within the tent that can then be used to charge portable gadgets.

Not unlike the generator bike lights of old, Motorola's bicycle charger juices up a cell phone as you ride. And for those of you wishing your many hours of yo yo practice were accomplishing more, the conceptual iYo captures the up and down motion to feed a hungry mobile device. For the camper and festival goer, this design uses an an air mattress foot pump.


Taking matters into your own hands can be the most satisfying, and there is no shortage of inspiration out there. Featured in Make, this design pairs an Altoids tin with a solar cell to make a portable iPhone charger. Designer Oscar Lhermitte has created a charger that juices your phone as your pedal your bike, and one of our contest winners built a system that does so as you cycle in your living room. We've seen a hand-cranked flashlight hacked into a battery charger, and this Ugandan woman has found a better way to charge her cell than biking 20 miles only to get ripped off. Designed for the Glastonbury Festival, this tent-top turbine charges a battery within the tent that can then be used to charge portable gadgets.

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