Pedal-powered Phone Chargers Will Be A Reality Soon
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"Necessity is the mother of invention," and this is what has inspired researchers from Case Western Reserve University to come up with a charger that get its power from pedaling. They believe the invention will making phone charging hassle-free for people residing in rural areas, as they experience long hours of power cut every day.

The researchers are field-testing their foot-powered cell phone charger in rural villages of the Kingdom of Lesotho, which is a small country surrounded by South Africa, reported a leading new agency.

In today's world, cell phone is no more a luxury item and has become an indispensable necessity of life. "Many of those living in rural areas have cell phones, but with the electricity shortage, they face a lot of difficult to charge the batteries," said researcher Samuel Crisanti.

He further added that up to 60% of people have cell phones, but only one-fourth of them have access to electricity. On the other hand, some people take a day-long ride by city through a cart where they have to pay to get their phone charged.

Crisanti teamed up with another researcher Ian Ferre in 2014 to build a solution in a class called 'Engineering for the World's Poorest,' taught by Daniel Lacks, who is a chemical engineering professor.

Professor Daniel Lacks liked the idea coined by Crisanti and Ferre, and he motivated the duo to apply for the US EPA grant. Both the researchers jointly won a $15,000 grant and later, they used the amount to buy supplies and build versions of the charge.

These researchers have invented several prototypes that rely on ratchet mechanism, which is based on a wheel that has teeth cut out of it and a pawl that follows as the wheel turns.

According to the researchers, "Gears change the motion of a foot pressing on the pedal (think of a pedal for a drum set's base drum, not a bicycle pedal) into circular motion that powers a generator. Like a ratchet tool, the gears spin only in one direction."

They further explained that pedaling can generate enough energy to recharge a phone. Not just this, it can also power a small lamp with a light emitting diode bulb, and this can be done sitting or standing. The duo spent nearly $12 dollars to come up with a 3D print of the latest lightweight-and-portable version.