Saturday, June 12, 2010
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Here's a weird concept from an even weirder source: a pair of heat-to-energy cellphone charging boots from European telecom giant Orange. Called "Orange Power Wellies" after the popular rain boot, the kicks use power-generating soles that charge a phone faster the more active the wearer gets.
The boots' power-collecting abilities rely on what's known as the "Seebeck Effect," which involves electricity created from temperature differences. So, in this case the heat from one's foot would contrast with the cold of the ground, and the power-generating sole would convert and collect the resulting energy.
The design is part of an annual effort by Orange to think of new green ways to charge cellphones during the U.K.'s Glastonbury Festival, which is kind of like a Woodstock for music and the arts.
We love concepts like this as much as the next website, but if Orange really wanted to make an impact they'd actually start mass producing these things. These wellies will probably never see the light of day, though strapping your phone to your rain boots doesn't seem like such a great idea, besides.
California startup Coulomb Technologies is looking to pepper the country with thousands of public power stations for electric vehicles to juice up at. Does it feel too early for the all-electric future? Maybe, but apparently sales are picking up — 19,000 people have already preordered Nissan's Leaf.
To help encourage people to get behind the wheel of an electric vehicle, Coulomb wants to install 1,000 terminals across nine American cities as part of its ChargePoint America program. An additional 3,600 will follow and be in place by late 2011.
The one big thing that electric vehicles don't have right now that gas guzzlers do is infrastructure. If you're running out of gas, you can just pull into a station. Running out of charge on your car's electric battery, though, would you know what to do? In the future — the very near future, if Coulomb keeps going and electric vehicles sales take off — you could simply find a place to plug your car into the grid.
That really seems to be the missing piece here. If an electric vehicle was as easy to use as ye olde combustion cars, then why not go with them?