Wind Turbine to Power Cell Phones?

Olga Kharif

That bulky cell phone recharger is doomed, it seems. Students at the Indian Institute of Technology have just developed a tiny turbine, which is to be attached to cell phones. According to this article, it can generate 3 to 4 Watts of electricity, which is just enough to keep a mobile going. The gadget is a bit hard to visualize (I keep thinking of a windmill attached to a cell phone). Still, that's just one of many technologies announced recently that are seriously threatening our good ol' lithium ion battery.

The IIT group is already talking with industrial partners, interested in commercializing this turbine technology. A start-up called Konarka has developed plastic solar cells that can be applied to a mobile phone's case. The thin film collects solar energy to power up the device, and the company hopes to announce deals with cell phone makers some time this year.

Of course, one has to wonder: What if my cell phone's battery runs out at night, when there's no wind?

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