British inventor Trevor Baylis -- designer of the world's first clockwork radio -- has come up with a concept to charge a mobile phone by walking.
Baylis claims he has around 20 different ideas to achieve the locomotion powered mobiles. The most promising uses miniature quartz-crystals embedded into ceramic material. When inserted into a shoe they spark electricity if they are bent or compressed. Baylis reckons the crystals would produce enough current when flexed to power a cellphone battery.
The device could power a mobile using a wire connected from the phone to the shoe, becoming "an integrated part of the trouser leg," says Baylis. He believes the ideal solution would be to have a separate battery charging in one or both shoes. These could then be removed (presumably from the heel of the shoe or a built in secret compartment in the sole...) and swapped with the expired battery.
Baylis is currently searching for partners for his new venture. He mentions Nike and Nokia as ideal partners. "My job now is to stand outside the tent and shout out 'roll up and see the naked lady', so to speak," says Baylis.
Last year's astonishing mobile phone sales -- 40 percent of the UK population now own a handset -- and the popularity of trainers with young people leads Baylis to believe that it could be the next hot, 'must have' product.
However, the invention could well have more serious applications. Like his clockwork radio, Baylis sees third world countries as being the biggest beneficiaries of his innovation. "In third world area without telecommunications, you'd only need one big fella to power the battery for a village of 400 people to have access," he says.