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.
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.
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.
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.
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