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Handhelds Patents Power Science Technology

Nokia Targets Mobile Kinetic Energy Charging 65

justice4all writes "Nokia has filed a US patent for a phone charger that harvests kinetic energy. The technology has been used in laptops, PDAs, and GPS receivers, according to Nokia. Essentially, the mobile devices would be powered in part through the movements of their owners."
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Nokia Targets Mobile Kinetic Energy Charging

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  • Now if only they can create a perpetual motion device from the vibration motor, they'll have an infinite source of mobile power!
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Why not plug a hydraulic pump that generates power to your heart/arteries that way you have mobile power until you die, you won't be needing the device after that anyways...

    • if only they can create a perpetual motion device

      Thermodynamics fail

      • if only they can create a perpetual motion device

        Thermodynamics fail

        I think he was making a joke there.

        But don't worry if you missed it, the joke will keep going...

  • by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @12:30PM (#31415134) Homepage

    ...if my laptop is running low on power, I should shake the hell out of it? Can do!

  • by Weezul ( 52464 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @12:31PM (#31415156)

    I'm aware that many Europeans and Asians would benefit from this technology, but American outside NYC will never get much current out. Any wonder Nokia dominates the European and Asian markets but preforms dismally over here?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by BobMcD ( 601576 )

      I'm aware that many Europeans and Asians would benefit from this technology, but American outside NYC will never get much current out. Any wonder Nokia dominates the European and Asian markets but preforms dismally over here?

      Because we're all like the humans in Wall-E. We've got robot chairs and we never, ever move.

    • by maxume ( 22995 )

      Is that because the people in the places you name are furiously masturbating over their alleged superiority?

      I bet there are more obese people in New York City than there are people in Wyoming.

      • by Joe U ( 443617 )

        I bet there are more obese people in New York City than there are people in Wyoming

        Considering about 11 million people show up to NYC every day, and Wyoming has about 533,000 people in the state, so yes, you are correct. Heck, I bet there are more kids in NYC schools than there are people in Wyoming.

        So, what was your point?

        • by maxume ( 22995 )

          That being a resident of New York isn't a predictor of who will benefit from a kinetic charger?

          • by Joe U ( 443617 )

            Absolutely true. But the thing would sell like hotcakes in a place like NYC, where people walk pretty much everywhere and nearly everyone has a cell phone.

      • by Weezul ( 52464 )

        I have considerable life experience living among different cultures. My impression has always been that men evaluate their success based upon both domain metrics and absolute metrics.

        A domain metric might be football, C++, driving, or warcraft III skill, but we only have one or two absolute metric, and the secondary absolute metric is always being a good family man. A few domain metrics like cooking heavily influence surface level cultural distinctions. All the biggest subtle cultural differences are dete

        • by maxume ( 22995 )

          It's always promising when considerable life experience leads to sweeping generalizations.

          It sort of sounds like wherever you go, you spend a lot of time with assholes.

  • Even better... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by phormalitize ( 1748504 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @12:32PM (#31415186) Journal
    I heard on the radio that there are bras that can charge ipods with kinetic energy generated by breast motion. Have not been able to confim the actual existence of such a device via a few google searches, though there seem to be a lot of articles speculating on the possibility.
  • by dtmos ( 447842 ) * on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @12:35PM (#31415214)

    The independent claims in the application (20100045241 [], filed August 20, 2008) center on the use of the battery's mass to generate electricity via one or more piezoelectric elements. It's always nice to see a liability turned into an asset. While this is just an application, and the claims may differ substantially in the issued patent (should one issue at all), here is the first independent claim:

    1. An apparatus comprising:
              a device housing;
              a holder configured to retain a battery;
              a first piezoelectric element coupling the holder to the device housing and configured to receive, as a result of acceleration of the device housing and along a first axis, a first portion of a force of imposed by a mass of a battery retained in the holder;
              a second piezoelectric element coupling the holder to the device housing and configured to receive, as a result of the device housing acceleration and along a second axis that is non-parallel to the first axis, a second portion of the force imposed by the mass of the battery retained in the holder; and
              a controller configured to receive electrical energy output by the first and second piezoelectric elements in response to the first and second force portions and to make the received electrical energy available for at least one of:
                        satisfying at least part of an electrical load satisfiable by the battery retained in the holder, and
                        recharging the battery retained in the holder.

    So it's key to (a) use the battery as the mass, and (b) generate electrical energy from two nonparallel piezoelectric elements. Note that nowhere does the claim mention a phone, just "a device," so this could have relatively wide applicability -- should it issue as written.

    • by spazdor ( 902907 )

      Since there are 3 dimensions of linear acceleration and 3 more of angular acceleration, I can't see how only 2 piezo elements could make effective use of all the movement. Maybe they've done some consumer testing and determined that no one ever shakes their mobile along its Z-axis?

      • by Amouth ( 879122 )

        if you hold it in the Z axis and add a low resistance lubricant then any motion energy along the z axis will bet transfered to the X & Y (EXCEPT motion that is perfectly along the Z axis and not at all against the X/Y - which is not your typical movement)

        I'm willing to bet that while they are missing out on some energy - by constraining it on one axis they are making the generation along the other 2 more effecient and allowing some of the Z axis energy to be captured via deflection.

  • Seiko Watches (Score:5, Informative)

    by Reason58 ( 775044 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @12:38PM (#31415288)
    Seiko has been making watches powered solely by kinetic motion for over two decades now. []
    • by sivax ( 747900 )
      Yep got one myself in 1999 and its still ticking, long as I wear it anyway.
      • by kandela ( 835710 )

        I'm wearing a 1977 model. Yes, it is older than me, but not by much.

        I think it has been calibrated for an older person though, as when I wear it, it gains 5 minutes a fortnight.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jockeys ( 753885 )
      everyone else has been doing it since 1770 or so:
      :) although it's sans-battery
    • I remember seeing a flashlight advertised that worked by shaking it. Anyone can "file" a patent, getting awarded one is completely different story, they have to demonstrate something "not obvious" in this.
      • by fbjon ( 692006 )
        Using the battery to charge itself is actually kinda clever. All rechargeable batteries should have this inside them as standard!
    • by Fri13 ( 963421 )

      And there are cellphones using same technology. Nokia is just trying to patent a own kind idea what is used on flashlights ( I have one such where the magnet moves from end to end. Uses one bright LED and with about 1 hour shakecharging the flashlight lights up very brightly for one week continuesly). Here is the cellphone with technology what Nokia is patenting. [] Altough Nokia is trying to get battery and all other functions in the rack and slide it inside the

  • Prior art (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Neil Watson ( 60859 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @12:40PM (#31415310) Homepage

    Mechanical watches have had auto winding movements for over a century. Seiko have had self charging quartz watches for decades. It seems that any new kinetic charging system would just be an evolution of these.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by natehoy ( 1608657 )

      It would, but I think Nokia wants to patent it for mobile phones. Then someone will patent it for car remote fobs, then someone else will patent it for media players, then someone else will patent it for those sneakers that light up, then someone else will patent it for vibrators, then Apple will ban the use of the technology because someone has patented another use of it that could be sexually suggestive.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Sarten-X ( 1102295 )

      As mentioned a few comments up, a key element is to have the mass of the battery itself used in the charging system. I don't know about watches, but from the move-to-charge devices I've seen, they all have an additional moving mass. Using the battery itself to charge would reduce the overall weight significantly. That seems to be the novel idea here.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Duradin ( 1261418 )

      Watches have minuscule power consumption compared to a phone and can get along with using capacitors instead of batteries so there is less loss during charging.

      Getting a kinetic charger to kick out the power necessary to charge a lithium battery would be very impressive.

    • I was going to post the same thing. This technology is called automatic quartz [], and was pioneered by Seiko with their Kinetic line. It works great... on watches, which have a VERY low power consumption. Normal wrist movement is enough to charge a watch within a day and keep it running for months, even with no aditional movement. Citizen does something similar with their Eco-drive line, which are powered by light instead of motion (less moving parts).

      They might be able to scale it for cellphones, but laptops

  • by dtmos ( 447842 ) * on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @12:45PM (#31415394)

    Typographical errors occur more often than one would think in patent applications. Often they're because the typist is unfamiliar with technical terms or can't read the inventor's handwriting. Or, maybe, the typist is daydreaming about a lobster dinner:

    The same day the kinetic energy patent application was published, the USPTO published this one: SOFT BUTTER MEMORY CONFIGURATION IN A COMMUNICATION SYSTEM [].

    It, of course, refers to a "soft buffer" memory configuration, but which patent is likely to have less prior art?

  • I mean would you get a better charge by carrying the phone in your hand than on your belt because it moves more? Maybe even on your shoes but then picking up a call is not much fun.

  • Now porn is a fuel source.
    Nokia: comes with music, powered by porn.

  • Conference Notes: (Score:4, Interesting)

    by KiwiCanuck ( 1075767 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @01:26PM (#31416026)
    I was at a conference in Europe a few years ago and they had an afternoon section devoted to power scavenging. Most devices produced nanowatts of power. The problem is extracting the power from random motion. A fixed length cantilever (the simplest design) will only produce meaningful power when at resonance. Complex arrays can extract more power, but the cost-benefit ratio rises quickly. The only device that broke the milliwatt was NASA's micro (milli?) jet turbine (it might have broke the Watt barrier as well, I can't remember exactly). However, the turbine was made out of a stack of twenty 3-inch wafers. At $10 per wafer (very cheap wafer), you're starting cost is $200. So it is very costly to build, but could be extremely useful in many applications.
  • Yes, having a reason to keep my cell in my hand at all times even when i am walking to produce a charge is a cool reason....
    wonder if we could add that to other things too.....

"For a male and female to live continuously together is... biologically speaking, an extremely unnatural condition." -- Robert Briffault