2 Kenyan electrical engineering students have invented a phone charger which runs off the power generated when riding a bike.
It is estimated that some 17.5 million people out of Kenya’s 38.5 million population own a mobile handset – up from 200,000 in 2000, however in rural areas without easy access to electricity, charging a mobile phone can be extremely difficult. People have to travel great distances to shops where they are charged $2 a time to power their phone, usually from a car battery or solar panel. Both coming from small villages, Jeremiah Murimi, 24, and Pascal Katana, 22, said they wanted to help those without electricity in rural areas.
Bikes in Kenya are already sold with a dynamo attached to the back wheel to power the lights, this instead can be plugged into the phone charger – about an hours pedalling will fully charge the phone!
Kenya’s National Council for Science and Technology has backed the project, and at least one NGO working in Kenya are interested in testing the chargers, proving it to be an absolutely cracking idea. The students hope they will find a way of mass-producing the chargers. At the moment they have only hand-made 2 of the tiny devices using bits from scrapped radios and TVs.
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