For all the advancements that have brought our phones higher capacity batteries, faster charging, or more energy efficient operation, one thing’s continued to elude us: the self-charging phone. Maybe the closest we’ve come have been through cases that offer solar panels to help top-off a charge, but despite the idea popping back up every few years, we haven’t seen such solar cells make their way to a phone itself as an integral part of its design. But photovoltaics are only one way a smartphone might be able to keep itself powered, and Nokia’s got a new video showing off a system that captures kinetic energy and uses it to charge a phone’s battery.
OK, to be fair Nokia isn’t positioning this as something it’s actually working on for Lumia models. The video is part of Nokia’s efforts to raise awareness about sustainability, and the system being used to convert “dance energy” into battery charge is hardly optimized for the task – even after hours of getting down, it’s barely able to make a dent even in a diminutive 1300mAh battery.
But in spite of the lighthearted nature of this video, there’s something worth thinking about here: especially with the rise of wearables, we’re looking at a future where we’re both in need of reliable power sources for hardware that’s going to stay on our person, as well as finding ourselves in a prime position to start harvesting kinetic energy. “Self-winding” smartwatches, anyone?