Rob Katz

No Electricity, No Problem: Wind-Powered Phones

I first read about these wind-powered, off-grid cell phone chargers on WorldChanging, which cites Gizmodo as a reference. The product, designed by students at the Indian Institute of Technology, is a small (fits in your pocket) wind-powered turbine that can quickly and easily recharge a cell phone – and it costs only 200 rupees (5 dollars). It strikes me as great for off-grid, rural areas that may have intermittent or non-existent electricity. Ideal conditions for the gadget are coastal areas, which have near-constant wind. The success of models such as GrameenPhone in Bangladesh, Smart Communications in the Philippines, and CelTel in Tanzania hasve been, to this point, somewhat dependent on a reliable source of power – or else villagers have to travel into a nearby town to charge their phones. With this innovation, the potential of cell phones to break down information barriers throughout the developing world could be unlocked and enabled on a wholly new scale. For more, read the story.