The portable battery that recharges when you jog

Published on Monday, 18 January 2016

Producing clean energy to charge your smartphone as you move around the city: this is the idea – now reality – of three engineers from Chicago who created Ampy, a portable battery recharged by kinetic energy
The device finds a way around the classic problem associated with use of smartphones: battery life is too short. We’ve all found ourselves needing to recharge our phones when we are out and about. Ampy is a little box, “as big as a pack of cards and the same weight as a mobile phone,” according to its creators, which is recharged by physical activity: walking, jogging or cycling generates enough “juice” to power a phone for one to five hours. The portable battery works with any device charged by USB, such as a smartwatch: one hour in motion is enough to charge a smartwatch for twenty-four hours. And if all else fails, you can recharge Ampy by plugging it into an electrical outlet and store the energy until you need it.
Ampy is designed not to get in your way when you are in motion: with a strap you can “wear” on your arm, to which it adapts well with its rounded shape, it has a comfortable and sweat-proof protective case. But if you’re not a sporty type, you can just carry it in your pocket or purse while walking around normally. 
The device contains two inducers that convert motion into energy and an 1800 mAh lithium battery that can fully recharge an ordinary smartphone. Moreover, two buttons on the case allow you to check the residual charge and see whether the device is charging. 
A special app provides useful information on the amount of energy produced and calories burnt, as well as presenting the data on your smartphone, showing at what time of day the battery is used the most and forecasting battery life.
Presented on Kickstarter, where it soon reached, surpassed and almost doubled its fundraising target of one hundred thousand dollars, Ampy was designed by Tejas Shastry, Mike Geier and Alex Smith. The three engineers meet at the PhD programme at Northwestern University and decided to work together on a tool for recharging smartphones anywhere, any time. As they cycle, walk and run a lot, they came up with the idea of using kinetic energy as the ideal energy source for recharging technological devices. The three soon founded a start-up with other designers and engineers, created the first prototypes of Ampy and set up what turned out to be an amazingly successful crowdfunding campaign. 
Acclaimed by Forbes as one of the best 30 teams under 30 in the field of energy, the start-up is now concentrating its energy on wearable devices with the intention of creating products that no longer need electricity but run solely on the energy produced by the wearer’s movements.

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