HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
REGISTER   |   LOGIN   |   HELP
Blogs
Blog

Charge Your Mobile Device via Text Message

NO RATINGS
View Comments: Threaded|Newest First|Oldest First
Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Another ambitious energy project
Elizabeth M   4/9/2013 5:53:31 AM
NO RATINGS
There are a number of inventive ways clever people are devising to bring energy and electricity to places where it's limited, and this is yet another one. It's refreshing to see great minds harnessing technology in this way. Does anyone know of any others that bear mentioning or coverage?

rick.curl
User Rank
Iron
Hoax!
rick.curl   4/10/2013 1:21:47 PM
NO RATINGS
Interesting concept, and it has triggered a good discussion, but this one smells like a hoax to me.  The image seems to be photoshopped too........

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Hoax!
Elizabeth M   4/11/2013 4:47:58 AM
NO RATINGS
I don't think it's a hoax, as the founder of the project did get in touch with me. I will definitely follow up with him about all of the issues brought up in the commentary. Quite a lively discussion!

Debera Harward
User Rank
Silver
Re: Another ambitious energy project
Debera Harward   3/10/2014 2:25:17 AM
NO RATINGS
Thats really great with all these technologies we can see that how creative and intelligent people we have . And the most interesting thing that i found was the business that the people have started with this technology . Secondly i want to know if this technology is used to charge mobile phones only or it can charge any other chargable device as well. 

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Another ambitious energy project
Elizabeth M   3/10/2014 4:47:35 AM
NO RATINGS
Hi, Debera, thanks for your comment. I think at this point the technology is meant for mobile phones but I am sure it could be expanded to other devices.

Debera Harward
User Rank
Silver
Re: Another ambitious energy project
Debera Harward   3/11/2014 2:56:11 AM
NO RATINGS
Thanks Elizebeth and yes if this technology expands in future for other devices it will definitely make a difference and will make things very easy and accessable to people who are deprived of electricity and living in small villages and towns .

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Another ambitious energy project
Elizabeth M   3/11/2014 3:29:38 AM
NO RATINGS
I couldn't agree with you more Debera. I think I will follow up on how this project is doing to see if what its founders hoped to achieve is panning out. If I find out anything I will post it here. Thanks again for your comments.

a.saji
User Rank
Silver
Re: Another ambitious energy project
a.saji   3/11/2014 4:25:04 AM
NO RATINGS
@Debera: Yes technology can do wonders to anyone who is willing to take the extra mile and try it out. Even things get a bit tough you should not stop it. Technology is something which has been made to make things easier so obviously it will make things easier for everyone once you get used to it.    

Mydesign
User Rank
Platinum
Economic point in charging via SMS?
Mydesign   4/9/2013 7:08:51 AM
NO RATINGS
1 saves
Elizabeth, mobile device charging via text SMS is a good option. But for a full battery charge how many SMS will required, moreover in most of the countries SMS are also chargeable. Whats the mode of contact between these type of charging point and devices & whether it economical.

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Economic point in charging via SMS?
Elizabeth M   4/9/2013 12:13:13 PM
NO RATINGS
Hi, Mydesign, thanks for your comment. What do you mean "the mode of contact"? I think I am a bit confused by your question.

TJ McDermott
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Economic point in charging via SMS?
TJ McDermott   4/9/2013 10:53:29 PM
NO RATINGS
Elizabeth, Mydesign's question is, I think, how does the electricity get from the charging station to the cell phone?  That was going to be my question at least.

The phrase "maximum power point tracking" describes what the solar cell portion of the system is doing (had to look it up).

Is there some form of non-contact inductive charging going on?  Or is a micro-USB cable so obviously necessary as to be left unsaid?

 

 

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Economic point in charging via SMS?
Elizabeth M   4/10/2013 4:21:14 AM
NO RATINGS
I'll have to get back to you guys on this, TJ. I didn't get a chance to talk to the founder of the project for the story. He did contact me a week or so later, so I can follow up and get a more detailed description. Stay tuned.

TJ McDermott
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Economic point in charging via SMS?
TJ McDermott   4/10/2013 10:04:14 AM
NO RATINGS
I will stay tuned Elizabeth; it's an interesting subject!

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Economic point in charging via SMS?
Elizabeth M   4/11/2013 10:27:00 AM
NO RATINGS
I will, TJ. I have to say, I didn't expect such a lively discussion about this. And people have brought up a lot of points I didn't even think about myself, as they always do (because our readers are a class act!). I definitely am curious to fill in the blanks myself now.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Economic point in charging via SMS?
William K.   4/10/2013 4:53:58 PM
NO RATINGS
I was going to ask the same questions, which arose since no place in the article did it mention how the power gets to the phone from the charging box. One very big question is how did they avoid the problem of so many different connectors to the phones? I have a stack of 15 old phones using 15 different charging connectors. Of course they are from the era when phone makers wanted to force folks to purchase their vastly overpriced charging cables. That is one area that would have been far better if the government had mandated one single connector type and polarity for each of the three basic charging voltages, and not allowed any exceptions. Now USB charging is sort of like that except for those connectors with the fifth pin and that secret resistor.

What is so very complex about a charging system for a phone? A small generator/ PM alternator and a simple control circuit would do the job and if the gears and bearings were plastic the retail price could be under $10 USD. Of course they would probably have a 1000% markup if they were to be sold elsewhere in the world. Gred does seem to work that way.

Mydesign
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Economic point in charging via SMS?
Mydesign   4/12/2013 12:01:55 AM
NO RATINGS
1 saves
"What do you mean "the mode of contact"? I think I am a bit confused by your question."

Elizebeth, I mean the contact point for this type of device charging. To be more specific, how the devices are getting charged through SMS.

tekochip
User Rank
Platinum
Peddling His Wares
tekochip   4/9/2013 9:00:56 AM
NO RATINGS
What's surprising to me is that the potential customers can afford to purchase a cell phone and service but apparently can't purchase a small solar panel to charge the phone themselves. I just checked eBay and a typical panel is about $5. The solar idea is great, I just don't understand why they need a guy to pedal it.


Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Peddling His Wares
Elizabeth M   4/9/2013 12:20:43 PM
NO RATINGS
I think that cell phones are probably a little easier to get in some of these countries than solar panels, although I am not sure, tekochip. I imagine they also are on "pay as you go" services, not service plans. But as I said, I don't know for sure. I just would think it might be hard for someone to purchase a solar panel. I live in southwest Portugal and even here I would find it hard to get one; I'd have to go online and have it delivered. And the mail in Portugal is quite bad and sometimes I don't get packages or have trouble receiving deliveries, so I can't imagine what it might be like in a truly impoverished place.

far911
User Rank
Silver
Re: Peddling His Wares
far911   4/9/2013 2:07:58 PM
NO RATINGS
i truly agree aith your approach.

Pubudu
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Peddling His Wares
Pubudu   4/9/2013 2:15:15 PM
NO RATINGS
Yes tekochip I also agree with you,

I think that hand mobile charger is the best option for this matter.

Cabe Atwell
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Peddling His Wares
Cabe Atwell   4/9/2013 5:33:27 PM
NO RATINGS
Why not use the bike to charge the phones? Sit on it and pedal, spins a generator.

C

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Peddling His Wares
Charles Murray   4/9/2013 7:12:32 PM
NO RATINGS
I also think they'd get more current using your method, Cabe.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Peddling His Wares
Rob Spiegel   4/9/2013 9:53:37 PM
NO RATINGS
I'm with Chuck and Cabe. Even beyond bikes, nearly any form of transportation -- including walking -- can generate sufficient energy to charge a cell phone.

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Peddling His Wares
Elizabeth M   4/10/2013 4:58:00 AM
NO RATINGS
That's a good idea, Cabe. Probably a bit less cumbersome than dragging around the generator on a bicycle. Wonder if the project founders thought of that? I can ask.

Cabe Atwell
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Peddling His Wares
Cabe Atwell   4/22/2013 6:06:55 PM
NO RATINGS
I wanted to make a bike-generator for 3rd world use. It was based on a generator I made for another project. However, the harsh environment of those places, the bumpy roads, often destroys such devices. Perhaps that is why they didn't go that route?

C

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Peddling His Wares
Elizabeth M   4/23/2013 3:39:12 AM
NO RATINGS
Good point, Cabe, that could be one reason the bike idea didn't fly (or ride, so to speak). But I would have to ask the project founders about that. It's true the conditions there could be difficult, as they are difficult even for cars. I have a friend working in Africa at the moment and one of the first things he noted was the treacherous state of the roads.

Cabe Atwell
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Peddling His Wares
Cabe Atwell   4/26/2013 4:43:24 PM
NO RATINGS
I spoke to a few non-profits in Africa about distribution. They essentially said, there are too many bikes there.

They also said that people just steal electricity off the suspended power-lines. They will even use barbed wire as their connection. They said I have to tackle that problem before they would use my generator. In other words, I have to teach the users what to do.

It has been a back burner project of mine ever since the talk.

C

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Peddling His Wares
Elizabeth M   4/29/2013 4:03:28 AM
NO RATINGS
That's interesting, Cabe. It sounds like a worthwhile project if you could educate people there and show them how to get power efficiently and more legally. It's a shame it's such a desperate situation that they need to steal power off the lines with barbed wire! It can't be safe, either. I think they need the device the German student created to harvest energy from devices and power lines (that spurred such heated debate among our readers!): http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=260486

Cabe Atwell
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Peddling His Wares
Cabe Atwell   5/3/2013 3:00:15 PM
NO RATINGS
When you need to take the stolen power to one's house a mile away... with no other choice, they will use the barbed wire. I would say using devices like the "bathook" for accessing strung lines is more safe, but where will they find a spool of 6 gauge wire (powerline gauge, USA).

The problem is infrastructure, corruption in the government, desperation. There is no hope, for now.

C

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Peddling His Wares
Elizabeth M   5/6/2013 9:28:12 AM
NO RATINGS
That's a shame, Cabe, but perhaps one day this idea will be workable because it sounds like a really good one. Although corruption historically is a problem in underdeveloped nations and doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon, unfortunately.

Cabe Atwell
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Peddling His Wares
Cabe Atwell   5/10/2013 4:12:43 PM
NO RATINGS
As opposed to helping a select few with bikes and generators... complete infrastructure overhauls are needed. But in that case, is the entire country reliant on charity to sustain?

C

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Peddling His Wares
Elizabeth M   5/13/2013 4:18:15 AM
NO RATINGS
Yeah, it seems like a really difficult problem to solve with a lot of complicated issues around it, Cabe. A friend of mine just returned from a four-month stint working in Botswana and from what he says, so many things need changing and fixing, and it's very difficult to do things that we take for granted every day.

Cabe Atwell
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Peddling His Wares
Cabe Atwell   5/17/2013 4:17:55 PM
NO RATINGS
Was your friend there for charity?

On a similar subject - I feel a lot of non-profits are secretly for profit. The people that work them often take a paycheck, or it is their only job. But their salary is part of the NP's overhead. Trips are too. And trips are expensive, as we all know.

I heard on NPR about a charity doing work over in South Africa. It seems to me that they spent a lot of time "traveling around, seeing the country to get a feel for the people's plights." During the trip, he had to eat and sleep places, all on the charity's dime. I think he just wanted to travel. To me, it sounded like a fraud. Especially since nothing came of it.

C

jack90
User Rank
Iron
Re: Peddling His Wares
jack90   3/8/2014 1:52:24 AM
NO RATINGS
Text messaging admits movable phone further PDA users to propel info to per different. Typically, text messaging is a remuneration liturgy. Nevertheless, it is feasible to consign rescue text bulletins through inevitable websites.

business case study

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Peddling His Wares
Elizabeth M   3/10/2014 4:54:09 AM
NO RATINGS
Cabe, that story about that charity in South Africa sounds alarming but not surprising. I imagine there are a few "charities" or "nonprofits" that take advantage in a similar way, which is a shame but unfortunately sometimes people aren't always doing the right thing. As for my friend, he was there for work--a friend of his set him up with a job overseeing construction of safari camps. He only stayed three months because the work was grueling and it was quite difficult, and he is in his mid 50s and didn't want to put himself through that kind of labor.

ishi
User Rank
Silver
Re: Peddling His Wares
ishi   4/10/2013 9:28:24 AM
NO RATINGS
Good point.  In the photo, the orange structure attached to the rear of the bike appears to be a stand that can be rotated under the rear tire to lift it off the ground.  In fact, such a stand is typically used for transforming a bike into a stationary exercise bike (not likely!) or a generator.

Pubudu
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Peddling His Wares
Pubudu   4/10/2013 1:20:01 PM
NO RATINGS
Exactly Cabe, We all missed it,  it's like searching a way to use a pen in space when we are having a pencils. 

TedT
User Rank
Iron
How it works
TedT   4/10/2013 10:58:56 AM
NO RATINGS
After clicking on the link to the BuffaloGrid project it seems that their project is to make available charging boxes and solar panels.

- The man on the bike as an entrepreneur is selling cellphone charges

- the charger is in the white box on the handlebars and has a battery and 8 separate USB ports for plugging in cellphone charge cables

- the gizmo over the back wheel seems to be simply advertising for the service

- the orange frame is indeed a bike stand

- it appears that the charger box is itself charged by solar panel that the entrpreneur receives as part of the package

So when the fellow arrives in a village everyone gathers round to plug in and charge their phones after first sending a text message to pay and unlock a charging port.

A clever and useful small business enterprise.

prontomonto
User Rank
Iron
Re: How it works
prontomonto   4/10/2013 12:33:29 PM
NO RATINGS
The opportunity already exists for an entrepeneur to but a generator (be it hand, solar, pedal) and charge people to use it. The only innovation I see here is to give the cell phone companies a cut by requiring SMS payment. One way of attracting investment for your idea I suppose, but surely better to keep the cash in the local economy? Also, cell phone reception is needed before charging can begin.

TedT
User Rank
Iron
Re: How it works
TedT   4/10/2013 12:50:49 PM
NO RATINGS
Yes, a good point.  Your phone has to be working before you can charge it. Wouldn't work for me as I usually don't remember to charge it until it has died on me!

The text message is redundant if the fellow on the bike is there to operate it and monitor who is plugged in but it does offer the possibility of running as an unattended faciity.

P.S. it is not MY idea...I was just trying to figure out how it works from looking it up on their (BuffaloGrid's that is) web site.

Elizabeth M
User Rank
Blogger
Re: How it works
Elizabeth M   4/11/2013 10:25:09 AM
NO RATINGS
Thanks for the succint breakdown of things TedT. This was pretty much my understanding as well. But I will follow up with the project leader.

Partner Zone
More Blogs
Festo's BionicKangaroo combines pneumatic and electrical drive technology, plus very precise controls and condition monitoring. Like a real kangaroo, the BionicKangaroo robot harvests the kinetic energy of each takeoff and immediately uses it to power the next jump.
Design News and Digi-Key presents: Creating & Testing Your First RTOS Application Using MQX, a crash course that will look at defining a project, selecting a target processor, blocking code, defining tasks, completing code, and debugging.
These are the toys that inspired budding engineers to try out sublime designs, create miniature structures, and experiment with bizarre contraptions using sets that could be torn down and reconstructed over and over.
PowerStream is deploying the microgrid at its headquarters to demonstrate how people can generate and distribute their own energy and make their homes and businesses more sustainable through renewables.
Printrbot unveils its all-metal Printrbot Simple, bringing durability to low-cost 3D printers.
Design News Webinar Series
3/27/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York / 7:00 p.m. London
2/27/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York / 7:00 p.m. London
12/18/2013 Available On Demand
11/20/2013 Available On Demand
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Apr 21 - 25, Creating & Testing Your First RTOS Application Using MQX
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Next Class: April 29 - Day 1
Sponsored by maxon precision motors
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Datasheets.com Parts Search

185 million searchable parts
(please enter a part number or hit search to begin)
Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service