Unless you have an impeccable phone-charging routine, chances are you’ve been caught with a dead battery at a very inopportune time. If you’re lucky, you may catch a break with a car charger. More likely, though, you'll run to the nearest power outlet and talk on the phone while it’s plugged in.
A French telecom company called Orange has big plans to save us all from the low-battery blues. They have developed a T-shirt that uses the ubiquitous resource of noise to charge cell phones. The fabric of the shirt is made out of a piezoelectric film, which is capable of transforming sound into electricity by compressing tiny quartz crystals. The so-called "Sound Charge" T-shirt is designed such that the electricity generated over the large surface area of the garment is stored in a battery that can then be used to charge a phone. The battery is removable so that the shirt can be washed.
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The company rolled out the T-shirt last month during the Glastonbury music festival in Britain, but they insist that you don’t need to be at a loud venue for the shirt to work. Even the ambient noise in a normal busy street should be enough to give a similar charging performance. However, don’t expect this T-shirt to save you from an emergency just yet — it would take an entire weekend at the festival to charge a smart phone.
Orange is working on increasing the speed and efficiency of the Sound Charge T-shirt's capability, and they anticipate that it is only a first step in making the charging of electronics an automatic and effortless process.
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