Wait until Al Gore hears about this…

As if it weren’t irritating enough to have to listen to people on their mobile phones, a South Korean team has just given people an excuse to yell into them even more loudly.

Dr Sang-Woo Kim, of Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul, has devised a technology that allows phones to be charged simply by talking to them – and the louder the noise, the more quickly the phone will charge.

The system works by transforming sound into electrical signals. The sound causes the pad on top of the phone to vibrate, compressing and releasing tiny zinc oxide wires which then generate current.

“A number of approaches for scavenging energy from environments have been intensively explored. The sound that always exists in our everyday life and environments has been overlooked as a source,” he says.

“This motivated us to realise power generation by turning sound energy from speech, music or noise into electrical power.”

Kim says the technology could also be used on a larger scale through the installation of sound-absorbing walls alongside major roads. These could not only generate electricity, but would have the added advantage of reducing noise levels.

Does this mean car mufflers will be outlawed?




  1. spsffan says:

    Just what the world needs. Where’s that racist UCLA girl who did the thing about loud Asians in the library on their cell phones when you need her!

    It makes me even gladder that I ditched my cell phone last month.

    I’ll get another one if and when the need arises. In the meantime, my level of calmness and well being has improved tremendously.

  2. Bobkat says:

    I love it. Noise providing electricity is a great idea. Al Gore could probably power a small city by himself.
    Shouting for humanity.

  3. LibertyLover says:

    Sound powered phones have been used for over 60 years in the Navy.

    I’m interested in how they’ll overcome the low voltage ranges to turn this into a charger.

    Interesting technology.

  4. chuck says:

    I’m working on a battery which is powered by my sense of righteous indignation.

    I had already developed a battery powered by my utter contempt for humanity, but it exploded due to overcharging.

  5. soundwash says:

    aren’t they friggin brilliant..

    you talk into a microphone, it generates power.. did they not notice this in the last 70-100yrs?

    -tune it to resonate & to the earth’s cavity already and stop futzing around with this panzi-ass bs..

    no wait, better yet.. let’s just cut to the chase and make it so when you repeatedly make a jerk-off motion with the phone, it charges..

    at least this way you’ll know who’s jerking you off for a change.

    -s

  6. msbpodcast says:

    Speaking of jerking off,

  7. BigBoyBC says:

    Bring a whole new meaning to “CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW”!

  8. FNH FNP40 says:

    So the Harley Davidson assholes could power the fucking world.

  9. Mextli says:

    #3 “Sound powered phones have been used for over 60 years in the Navy.”

    First thing I thought of. Worked well too.

  10. deowll says:

    I seem to recall the Woz saying something about hooking up phone parts (Mic and speakers) and transmitting some distance along a fence without a power booster when he was a kid.

    The old crystal radios actually used the broadcast power to run the speaker/headphones. They didn’t have a battery. They weren’t very loud either.

    I suppose they could use the muffler to charge the batteries on gas/electric hybrids.

    Now for the money questions: How much power do you actually get from this and how much does the hardware to get it cost?

  11. Dallas says:

    Sounds impractical (pun intended). A better idea is a mechanical charger where a good 60 sec shake gets you 30 seconds of talk time. Even better, a shoe phone charger.

  12. CrankyGeeksFan says:

    There’s a new shock absorber that captures energy from a vehicle going over a pothole.

  13. Benjamin says:

    #10 Mextli said, on May 10th, 2011 at 1:33 pm
    “#3 “Sound powered phones have been used for over 60 years in the Navy.”

    First thing I thought of. Worked well too.”

    I think they damaged my hearing. I put the receiver to my ear and then turned the crank. You think I would have learned after about ten times.

  14. smartalix says:

    Energy harvesting is atually a rapidly-growing area in electronics. This is due to new low-power circuits combined with highly efficient power conversion technology (at the microamp level) for the most part. The other factors include applications like RFID or remote sensor networks that don’t really need that much power, or only in bursts that can be addressed by new chipscale battery tech or just plain caps.

    Check out the enocean alliance (www.enocean-alliance.com) or an article liek this one: Energy Harvesting Suits Remote Low-Power Devices by the illustrious Jon Titus.

  15. rabidmonkey says:

    what is happening to my favourite blog these last few weeks? It is rapidly becoming dis-interesting with all of this clap-trap that I have already seen elsewhere on the web. Y A W N !

  16. President Camacho says:

    What, you thought “Idiocracy” was fiction???

  17. Norman Speight says:

    I’ll rent you my mother-in-law should your phone need a REAL booster charge.
    Mind you, I’m not guaranteeing the battery life after such a boost. Also, you might need your anti-radiation suit if you are closer than fifty miles. I’m also not accepting any claims in respect of your inability to reproduce afterwards.


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