Phone users could charge up their batteries just by walking around
They line the pockets of an estimated 1.75 billion people worldwide. They double as cameras, mp3 players, organisers and an almost inconceivable variety of other portable devices. They have even begun to monitor your heart rate, blood pressure and other vital statistics.
However, the liberation by innovation associated with our much-loved smartphones, smartwatches and fitness trackers has begun to leave a distinctly sour taste in our mouths - and that taste, of course, is the lingering metallic flavour of lithium-ion and its rather lacklustre staying power.
Sadly, the onward march of progress within the smartphone world has not been matched by relative developments within the world of power cells. Battery technology is most definitely stuck in the technological dark ages and, as our devices become increasingly power hungry, a growing number of people are to be found tethered to the nearest wall socket as they impatiently wait to post their next selfie.
What's more, the growing pile of waste material created simply by the chargers alone is beginning to pose a problem in itself. Perhaps then, at least until battery capacities can be increased, it is time for a different approach to the problem.
Kickstarting Kinetic Energy
There have been a number of attempts to provide portable power sources to increase smartphone longevity; from the simplicity of hooking up to your laptop to the more convenient inclusion of an additional battery.
However, one area that is just beginning to come into its own is the idea of harnessing our very own kinetic energy - that is, the energy created by the everyday movement of our limbs. The idea is not necessarily a new one and there have been plenty of attempts to harness the latent source of human energy over the course of history.
Leonardo's flying machines (for a reminder of what they look like, check out these on Posterlounge) attempted to use the power of our limbs to reach the heavens. Of course they failed and unfortunately the conversion of mechanical energy created by walking, running or other movements into electrical energy has proven to be equally elusive.
However, most recently, the nPower PEG has enjoyed some success despite its large bulk and high cost. It was the first commercially available kinetic energy module to become available back in 2012. Sadly, perhaps due to its size and cost, it never really took off - leaving the stage free for the diminutive and suitably innovative Ampy to take the limelight.
Contoured to fit comfortably to your body and optimised to store a week's worth of physical activity, Ampy is the next generation in kinetic energy capturing device - giving consumers a chance to access the technology at less than half the price of the PEG. The creators of Ampy suggest that around 10,000 steps, 1 hour of cycling or 30 minutes of running will give you a full 3 hours extra charge once hooked up to your smart phone. That's completely free, clean and renewable energy each and every time you take a walk.
However, perhaps most importantly for the future of mobile devices, the creators of Ampy are confident that their technology can cross over to the devices themselves - meaning your smartphone could be powered exclusively by you and your movements without the need for an extra unit in your pocket or bag.
This then, has the potential to make all of our mobile devices completely eco-friendly in the foreseeable future. Check out Ampy on their Kickstarter campaign and join the kinetic energy revolution.