The End (of Chargers) Is Near

As soon as our technology reached a point where things didn’t need to be plugged in, the necessity for mobile electric power came into being. Disposable batteries, rechargeable batteries, internal cells, and more recently wireless chargers have all attempted to provide solutions to the endless need for mobile energy.

Who hasn’t been stranded with a dead phone, with no way to charge it? It can be one of the most frustrating situations to be in, and in some cases even dangerous.

With the popularity of mobile phones and other mobile gadgets constantly increasing, this issue is not just one of convenience, but of environmental importance too. 51,000 tons of waste is produced every year just because of mobile chargers! When we add to that the emission of gases due to the electricity used to charge the phones and resources to manufacture the chargers, it becomes clear that getting rid of the charger could be a really good thing.

So what does Nokia have to do with all this? Well, in collaboration with the London designer Patrick Hyland, they’ve made public a concept phone called the E-Cu (“E” for environment, “Cu” for copper) that they claim could leave us happy and charger-free.

So how does it work?

Well, if you thought there were little gnomes running on treadmills inside the E-Cu, you were wrong. The phone contains a thermogenerator which converts heat energy into electrical energy. Just leave the phone next to any heat source like a radiator or even in your pocket, and you’re good to go. The geometric design and parched earth texture on the phone’s outer shell are symbols of the effect of heat in nature, or perhaps a warning of what could happen if we don’t start sorting out our energy problems.

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