Wow! Is there no end to this gadget charging innovation? We’ve already had inventions that allow you to charge devices from the mains, from your car battery, and by harvesting the power of the sun and the wind. We’ve even had inventions that allow you to charge your mobile phone by using the heat from a fire, and by pedalling a bike. Isn’t that enough? Of course not!
Picture the scenario. You’ve parked your rig at a beautiful free campsite in the middle of the Outback. You decide to take a bushwalk but it’s a very cloudy day without a breath of wind and you’ve forgotten to take your matches and, because you’re walking, you haven’t brought your bike, either.
Yikes! If your battery dies, how on earth are you going to power up your phone so you can take a picture of that gorgeous creek (you’ve also forgotten to bring your camera)?
Fear not! If you are still able to walk, then you are still able to get talking and get taking photos again.
Using cables that connect to your shoes on one end and to an integrated generator held in a backpack on the other, Go Kin says you can use ‘hiking power’ to generate electricity.
The device basically transforms the motion of your walking into storable power. Each time you take a step, the cords engage gears, electronics and motors to create electricity. The power flows either directly to USB-connected electronics or into a lithium-ion battery for later use. The inventors claim the backpack is able to power up tablet computers as well as phones.
And you won’t need to expend ridiculous amounts of your hiking energy to generate the power you need. Go Kin says five minutes of walking will get users some 10-25 minutes of talking.
If you are planning a seriously long walk, be warned though that the electronics and battery used in the current prototype weigh about 1.2 kg. When you’re already carting a few litres of water, plenty of food, and perhaps some other safety kit, the generator’s weight might just be enough to take the spring out of your step.
Go Kin hopes to begin deliveries of the generator packs shortly. The backpacks are likely to cost $300-$400.