Summer concert festival season is upon us, and while it’s the best time of year for those who love music, it’s an increasingly risky proposition for music lovers with smartphones. That’s because concert festivals are long — sometimes lasting for days. Smartphone batteries, however, do not last nearly as long as the festivals they get taken to: most smartphone batteries last a day at best, and even shorter amounts of time when involved in heavy data traffic.
Sound Wave Phone Charging
Enter the phone-charging t shirt that uses sound waves to charge a phone’s battery.
Known as the “Sound Charge” and unveiled by wireless provider Orange, this phone-charging t shirt use the reverberations felt from guitar and bass at music festivals to charge a small battery pack that then feeds that power into smartphone devices like iPhones and Android smartphones.
The phone requires noise levels to reach at least 80 decibels in order to generate power, but that should be no problem at the UK’s largest music festivals. Music at these events typically crosses that threshold easily, meaning concert goers can use their handheld devices all weekend long. In fact, the t shirt promises to produce just over six watts in a weekend which will keep a phone running for the duration of the country’s longest-running and most popular musical events.
These phone charging t-shirts are just the latest innovation in an industry that is looking for ways to keep phones running and charging without electrical outlets and bulky wired chargers. Some companies have moved to create prototype phones with solar panels on the front or back, absorbing sunlight and converting it into an immediate jolt of battery energy.
Still other companies have developed flat “charging pads” that charge mobile device batteries simply by laying them on a pad that sits on a flat surface, rather than connecting them through a USB t shirt or Apple charging port. It’s an innovation that the sound charging t-shirts mimic, with their flat (on the chest) charging area and sound absorption pad just below the rest area for the mobile device.
For its part, the sound charging t shirt isn’t entirely cable free. You won’t have to be connected to a wall charger, but you will need to have the cable plugged into your phone in order for the sound waves and reverberations to be converted into phone-charging energy. It’s a step in the right direction, but it’s not the full realisation of the cable-free charging solutions that many companies are ultimately working toward.
No matter who wins the war for charger-free phone battery charging, it’s clear that this is the new frontier of mobile technology. And the ways we keep our devices running all day long so you can batter your phonebook and more and more complex applications are about to get more numerous — and more science fiction — very, very soon.