Sustainability of ICTs in the developing world is one of the most crucial issues in ICT4D. Millions of people now have cell phones, but with limited infrastructure in most of the developing world, charging these precious devices is a big challenge for their users. Last week, we looked at a few different models for wireless phone chargers that relied on solar energy in place of the plugs and wires that we have all grown accustomed too.
Now, there may be a new breakthrough in the cell phone chargers – H20. Seems contradictory, but Swedish group, myFC, says it has created a water-powered charger that converts water into electricity. Presented at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the PowerTrekk is a portable fuel cell charger which is slightly larger than a compact camera, uses just one spoonful of water and a small metallic device called a fuel puck, to fully charge an iPhone. According to Bjorn Westerholm, “It could be sea water, fresh water. You need to carry water with you to survive anyway and the PowerTrekk needs just one spoonful.”
Meanwhile, other groups are racing to come up with their own solution to the charging dilemma. Battery giant Duracell is championing a push for cars and even stadiums to be built with energy “mats” that would power up phones. XPAL Power rolled out a phone with a battery that “lasts 15 years,” said Christian Scheder, chairman of the Californian firm.The so-called Spareone, which will be commercialised in March, remains charged for up to 15 years if the phone is turned off, and for two months if it is on.
“This is great for emergency, disaster situations,” Scheder said.
With all of these new technologies, who knows what the future has in store. With the right gadget, the developing world could stay connected without the worries of wires.
The PowerTrekk water charger