The latest idea for powering mobile phones is a technique for turning sound into electricity. It means that the device can be charged simply by using it to hold a conversation. According to the report in The Telegraph, even background noise and music will charge a phone while it is not in use.
The idea comes from Dr Sang-Woo Kim, at the institute of nanotechnology at Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul, South Korea, who is quoted as saying "The development would have the additional benefit of reducing noise levels near highways by absorbing the sound energy of vehicles."
Novel devices for charging phones seem to be the focus for a lot of research. Only a couple of weeks ago I reported on ‘self-powered’ mobile phones that incorporated screens using transparent photovoltaic film to charge the phone’s battery.
The Telegraph article also mentions devices that can use the heartbeat to power MP3 players and a Nokia patent for a device which harvests energy from movement.
Given the advances in ‘free’ charging and in reducing the power used in devices, there may not be much use for the ‘universal’ mobile phone charger that the EU is introducing, which was always too little too late.