Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Cell Phones Powered By Conversations

Comments Filter:
  • by grapeape (137008) <{moc.rr.ck} {ta} {7epopm}> on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @07:24PM (#33582042) Homepage

    Geez if I could hook up a storage battery and wire it to my wife I could go off grid.

  • People who live near highways and main roads know how hard it is to get rid of traffic noise... if such a system catches 100% sound wave, that's a wave that dies at that point and is no longer heard. And, if that gets converted back to power, that's worth something in money.

    Just remember Newton's Law of Energy Conservation... and remember that things powered by the car driving over a power capturing device is stealing gas from your tank indirectly.

    • Re:Traffic solution? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Lotana (842533) on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @08:58PM (#33582376)

      ...and remember that things powered by the car driving over a power capturing device is stealing gas from your tank indirectly.

      Stealing? Are you trying to troll by attempting to get people outraged that the device powers from the sound generated due to inefficiency of your vehicle?

      It is technically true, the energy of the sound does comes from your fuel tank. But remember that your car would still be expanding just as much energy on generating the noise whether or not there is any sound-gathering device around. Driving on the country road in the middle of nowhere will not increase your fuel efficiency.

      Really the term "stealing" is completely invalid in this case. Now if the headline was about some fancy road surface that converted traction into energy then you would be absolutely correct, because it would adversely affect the performance of your vehicle, thus increasing its energy expenditure, thus stealing from your fuel tank.

      • by definate (876684)

        Tell that to the people who demand to be compensated for their positive externalities [wikipedia.org] such as people who own patents, and people who pay (via tax/etc) for public services. None of these people like your argument because they bare all the cost, while others benefit from it.

        Also, people who demand to be compensated for others negative externalities [wikipedia.org] such as people who live near a polluting factory, and people who want to protect the environment. None of these people like your argument because if the costs and

      • He's saying that the sound capturing devices are cool beans, but that other automotive energy capture devices aren't.

      • by corbettw (214229)

        Really the term "stealing" is completely invalid in this case.

        I agree. It's really more of an infringement. Or "pirating", if you will.

    • by blueg3 (192743)

      Just remember Newton's Law of Energy Conservation... and remember that things powered by the car driving over a power capturing device is stealing gas from your tank indirectly.

      It's not, it's recapturing wasted energy. The gas is expended producing those sound waves regardless of whether energy is harvested from them or not.

      This is very different from, say, harvesting electricity from a power line.

      • by sjames (1099)

        Actually, driving over a power capturing road surface may cause your car to expend more energy than it would otherwise IF the road has more "give" than a non-capturing road.

        The sound re-capture doesn't seem to have that drawback. It's not as if the car will make extra noise to fill the vacuum.

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      if such a system catches 100% sound wave, that's a wave that dies at that point and is no longer heard. And, if that gets converted back to power, that's worth something in money.

      Who cares about 100%? If you can harvest a tiny fraction of energy that someone else is paying for, then you get that energy for free where it would otherwise go to waste.

      Just remember Newton's Law of Energy Conservation... and remember that things powered by the car driving over a power capturing device is stealing gas from your

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sjames (1099)

        Many would consider it to be recovering some bit of the peace and quiet the passing cars despoil.

      • by Atryn (528846)

        Who cares about 100%? If you can harvest a tiny fraction of energy that someone else is paying for, then you get that energy for free where it would otherwise go to waste.

        Not to get too picky about it, but remember that the "tiny fraction" you harvest isn't "free". It needs to be worth at least enough to pay for the harvesting equipment, technology, deployment, maintenance, energy storage and transmission costs.

        If we're talking about tearing up existing roads to install something and then also stoppin

      • He's not complaining about waste sound energy.

        He's complaining about the speed-bump-mounted pistons that some areas are using, which make your car do more work to generate power.

        Of course, speed bumps in and of themselves end up causing more than an order of magnitude more deaths than they prevent thanks to their effect upon ambulances, so the power leeching is really only a drop in the bucket.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Since it would be using WASTE SOUND ENERGY, then no it's not 'stealing' gas. Let me know when the force a reduction i efficiency to support sound wave energy, then it will be indirectly costing you money,

      In fact, and device that capturer waste energy in any form doesn't cost you a damn thing in the way of gas consumption.

      In some case it can SAVE you money. Like using it on a ramp for care going down. It means less wear on brakes.

      And just so you know, 20% reduction in sound from traffic is worth something...

  • A cell phone powered by radio waves? Like a crystal radio? The speaker would suck but hey.. at least the electronics mig
  • by T Murphy (1054674) on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @07:33PM (#33582076) Journal
    Just make a phone that, while making a call, recharges its battery from the motion of the car. You've got a lot more energy to work with there than just sound energy, especially if you can derive energy from sudden stops.
    • by Joce640k (829181)

      It would overload the battery when the airbag fires...

  • Great (Score:5, Funny)

    by EkriirkE (1075937) on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @07:53PM (#33582122) Homepage

    SORRY I'M YELLING, MY BATTERY IS LOW!!!

    (off-topic lowercase to side-step /. yelling filters here)

  • Bogus (Score:5, Informative)

    by dtmos (447842) * on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @08:13PM (#33582182)

    This is a bogus story that wanders around every now and then. Cell phones require hundreds of milliwatts of transmit power, an amount of power far beyond what the human voice can achieve -- even at 100% conversion efficiency.

    • Presumably there would be a battery involved and the ambient noise would constantly charge the battery. I doubt anyone is claiming that you could just use one without a battery to talk for an infinite amount of time.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Charliemopps (1157495)
      You're completely misunderstanding how it works. A. The human voice produces a hell of a lot more power than a cellphone, you can disagree if you want but it's not even relevant because: B. Ambient noise. It's not just you powering the device, it's everything that makes noise around you. and then, don't forget: C. Energy over time. It's charging it all day long, even when you're not on the phone. They aren't talking about you literally powering the phone as you talk. They are talking about a device on the p
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It's BRAKE you goddamn fucking moron.

        • It would he "God damned", Capital G, two separate words and past tense. But of course, that's not really relevant to the conversation at hand is it?
      • Re:Bogus (Score:5, Informative)

        by blueg3 (192743) on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @09:29PM (#33582514)

        The human voice produces a hell of a lot more power than a cellphone, you can disagree if you want

        Well, a human shouting is about 1 mW. A cell phone's antenna outputs in the ballpark of 250 mW.

        Some quick back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that if the entire area of a cell phone could pick up sound energy, the ambient sound level was at the pain threshold of 120 dB (1 W/m^w), and it achieved 100% energy conversion, this would generate about 15 mW. For just the 250 mW antenna, this means about 90 minutes of talk time per 24 hours exposure.

        120 dB is very loud, and a far cry from how much sound a phone would normally be exposed to. Note that sound is measured on a logarithmic scale. If the phone was constantly exposed to 60 dB of sound, then it'd only generate 15 nanowatts.

        • I was looking into this at one point and my numbers came up pretty much in line with Blueg3's. There just isn't enough power in sound to really provide significant mWh. No matter how advanced the collection technology if the power isn't there to start with you aren't going to get far.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          But could you use this trickle of energy to reduce or eliminate the battery drain when the phone is idle?
          • by ZorbaTHut (126196)

            Reduce, perhaps, but judging from the minimal amount of power available, you'd probably be better off throwing away the complex sound-harvesting technology and replacing it with a simple larger battery.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by blueg3 (192743)

            Not really. All of my estimates are very high (conversion of 100%, entire phone is covered in the sound-converting material, etc.), but the ambient noise level is the problem. In a crowded place like a restaurant, you're talking about maybe 60 dB of sound. An entire day's exposure to 60 dB of sound would get you less than 1 microwatt-hour. That's a uselessly tiny fraction of a battery's storage.

        • As for clarification, 120 DB of sound is about like standing next to a jet engine at full power, or near the speakers at a rock concert. It's not "quite loud", it's painfully so.

          • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward

            my chainsaw has 118dB @ 1m (it's a big one). Great, i don't need to charge my phone, just carry the battery-free sound-harvesting phone and a 7.3kg chainsaw, and gun that while i make a quick call to the ear clinic complaining about deafness.

        • by geekoid (135745)

          60 db of sound only takes 15 nano watts an hour? that doesn't sound correct at all.

          • by blueg3 (192743)

            Power is not measured in watts an hour. It's just watts. (Intensity is measured in W/m^2.)

            0 dB (sound) is 10^-12 W/m^2. 60 dB is 10^-6 W/m^2. A 4 in. x 3 in. cell phone (with two sides) has an area of about 1.5 * 10^-2 m^2. So such an object subjected to 60 dB of background sound could capture up to 1.5 * 10^-8 W, which is 15 nW.

            There is surprisingly little energy in sound. Take, for example, an object loud enough that the sound intensity at a distance of 10 m is 60 dB. The total sound energy output by that

      • by Chucky_M (1708842)
        So they would want you to keep the phone on and the microphone working 24x7 because nobody could possibly think of a way to exploit that - right?

        1984 - I think they called it a telescreen.
        • People already keep their phones working 24x7. They also update their "status" telling the world of their whereabouts. More: many people already keep GPS tracking software like Latitude [google.com], constantly sending their coordinates to some third party's server.

          I don't know who are "them", but "they" if they want to track most people, "they" don't need any tricks - people share that information voluntarily all the time.

  • by NF6X (725054) on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @08:13PM (#33582190) Homepage

    If only we could harvest energy from articles about operating multi-watt devices from nanowatt energy sources, all of the world's energy problems would be solved.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Jedi Alec (258881)

      I suppose we could go around wrapping dead scientists in copper wire...?

      Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to patent the magnetic coffin.

  • by Haeleth (414428) on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @08:18PM (#33582204) Journal

    Cell phones are for apps, or texting. I didn't realise anyone used them to talk any more, except for members of an evil secret society dedicated to inflicting pain on users of public transport.

  • "Sorry honey, you're about to cut out, just let me move closer to the traffic....hang on a sec, if I jump out in front of this car right here it'll honk and I'll get a power boost.....okay now that that's under control can you please talk a little louder? The traffic here in the middle of the highway is just shocking" *THUD*.

    No thanks. Sounds like a bad idea. How efficient could the conversion be anyway? I'd rather a phone that was powered by my own farts. (Can you imagine an amorous conversation on that on

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Yes, taking it to an stupid extreme for stupid people makes this seem like a stupid idea.

      The sound waves produced a mild electrical current of about 50 millivolts. The article recognizes the fact that the current state of this technology would not charge cell phones. I suspect it won't work that way;however there are many other used.

      Like putting it along walls near freeways and using it to charge a battery that powers LED overhead traffic lights. Because you would have about 30 meters by 3 meters are to use

  • by EABinGA (253382) on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @08:19PM (#33582212)

    A ham operator has built a voice powered radio and has made several long distance contacts with it.

    Details are here [aa1tj.com]

    • by sjames (1099)

      That's pretty impressive! Of course most cellphone users won't be willing to haul a big antenna around and shout in Morse code...

  • by iONiUM (530420) on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @08:21PM (#33582214) Homepage Journal

    So those people on their phones 24/7 (I realize that's a bit of a 90s comment right there, but you know who I mean) will only be rewarded with MORE battery power? They already won't shut up. Damn it.

  • AND ABOUT AS EFFECTIVE.

    • by sjames (1099)

      Given how well cellphones work in some areas, yelling might be far more effective.

      Apparently people on the train already think this is how their phones work.

  • It already does (Score:3, Informative)

    by wisnoskij (1206448) on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @08:24PM (#33582234) Homepage

    The phone already taps the energy of sound, if their was no energy in the sound then the microphone would not be able to pick up the sound waves and send the information on.

    But even assuming that they can get the device to convert the power to small enough it does not matter, you would need a wide receiver, as the energy dissipates in all directions at a squared rate.
    and I would think that even if you converted all the power it would still not even be close to enough.
    think about it, you are basically saying the energy taken from a person speaking normally could be used for the same voice to be heard miles away, does not sound like it follows the laws of conservation of energy unless you think that it will be operating at 100% efficiency.

    • by Ozoner (1406169)

      But then sound waves attenuate much more rapidly that radio waves.

      See above article on the voice powered Ham radio covering thousands of miles. .......

    • by geekoid (135745)

      They are saying they have a device that they can get 50mw at 100db, and the expect refinement to make it better.

      That said, people should stop focus on cell phones and look at a bigger picture. Like walls along the sides of freeways.
      Yes, the used cell phones as a way of grabbing attention, but educated people should realize that's all it is and focus on actual practical implication.

    • think about it, you are basically saying the energy taken from a person speaking normally could be used for the same voice to be heard miles away, does not sound like it follows the laws of conservation of energy unless you think that it will be operating at 100% efficiency.

      When I was about 11, a friend and I made a "phone network" between our houses. We used two earpieces taken from old rotary phones, and simply connected them to each other using common 2-core speaker wire. This was over a distance of about 300meters, and used NO external power. You simply spoke into one earpiece, and the sound was heard at the other end. so we basically had a permanent open channel between our bedrooms.

      When we wanted to "call" the other person, we simply held an alarm clock next to the earpi

  • ...thinking that the sound waves from my screaming voice will actually be providing power to the very device I'm yelling at the asshat in front of me to "hang the fuck up and drive!!!"...

  • by Odinlake (1057938) on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @09:35PM (#33582546)
    finally a device that actually might start working again when you yell at it.
  • Really? (Score:3, Funny)

    by pookemon (909195) on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @09:48PM (#33582630) Homepage
    From TFA - "Just as speakers transform electric signals into sound, the opposite process -- of turning sound into a source of electrical power -- is possible"

    I never would have guessed that. Maybe now they can make something capable of turning sound into electrical impulses. I will patent that idea I think - and call it an anti-speaker. Or an audioelectictransmogrifier for short.
    • by Shrike82 (1471633)
      While we're quoting the article - this rather tickled me. Particularly strange when it's taken out of context, but nicely indicative of the sort of language you get in tech articles trying to cater to laymen:

      "The researchers blasted that sandwich with sound waves, which at 100 decibels were not quite as loud as a rock concert."
  • From the Article (Score:3, Informative)

    by PiAndWhippedCream (1566727) on Tuesday September 14, 2010 @09:55PM (#33582674)

    The sound waves produced a mild electrical current of about 50 millivolts. The average cell phone requires a few volts to operate, several times the power this technology can currently produce.

    Wrong, so very wrong. Millivolts is not a unit of current, and volts is no unit of power. Nor is power current. I've seen journalists not understanding electrical units before, but never have I seen something quite so wrong as this.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by cosm (1072588)
      Shhhh. Your going to confuse average joe-sixpack even more. The editors must have assumed that their tripe would pass the standard jargon filter. Does anybody have a regex for finding all the jargon in some text, so you can subsequently replace it with stuff this guys says? [youtube.com]

      I am sure six-pack wouldn't notice.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Hmm.. Sounds a lot like the "Sound-powered Telephone" that's been in use with the US Navy (and probably many other navys) for over 6 decades....

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound-powered_telephone

  • "A patent for a mobile telephony network requiring no power. Telephone A, consisting of a hollow cylindrical object with a hole drilled into the bottom, is connected via a high tech, string-like device, to Telephone B, another cylindrical object with the hole cut in the bottom. Range is excellent provided you buy lots of Monster brand string, it can even reach my super-secret treehouse!"
  • if you yell loud enough, you don't even need a cellphone. that's the case in my village.

  • Just what we need, more assholes on cellphones in traffic.

  • I work for the journal that published the orignal research paper behind this story, and we've set it free to access for the next few weeks; you can find it here: http://www.materialsviews.com/details/news/843529/Self-Powered_Cell_Phones_Piezoelectrics_in_Action.html [materialsviews.com] Adrian Miller Advanced Materials
  • "The sound waves produced a mild electrical current of about 50 millivolts. The average cell phone requires a few volts to operate, several times the power this technology can currently produce. ...
    The Korean scientists agree: 50 millivolts is not a lot of power, but they also say their research is proof of concept. As they continue their work, they expect to get a higher power output."

    volts = current = power! a new physics is at hand!

  • Scientists from Korea have turned the main ingredient of calamine lotion into a tiny material that converts sound waves into electricity.

    "Just as speakers transform electric signals into sound, the opposite process -- of turning sound into a source of electrical power -- is possible,"

    Wow, somebody has to tell these Korean scientists that they are 134 years late in discovering the microphone. Perhaps they should work on the next big problem Korea is facing : Fan deaths [wikipedia.org]...

    PS. I hope talking about measuring power & current with volts is the journalists fault.

    • by Ksevio (865461)
      That was my first thought seeing this article - the sound waves are already being converted into electricity in all phones - usually it's converted to a digital signal on cellphones.
  • by Ancient_Hacker (751168) on Wednesday September 15, 2010 @07:58AM (#33585546)

    Ridiculous. Phones need about a watt. If you SHOUT into a microphone, you will maybe generate 50 millivolts across 600 ohms, or (E^2/R) about FIVE BLEEPIN MICROWATTS.

    We're a good five powers of ten below what is needed.

    Doesn't anybody do math anymore?

    • by Nyder (754090)

      Ridiculous. Phones need about a watt. If you SHOUT into a microphone, you will maybe generate 50 millivolts across 600 ohms, or (E^2/R) about FIVE BLEEPIN MICROWATTS.

      We're a good five powers of ten below what is needed.

      Doesn't anybody do math anymore?

      No, because we got peeps like you to do it for us.

      thanks!

  • Imagine how much energy you could collect from the screams of human children!
  • Since this material absorbs sound waves, could it be used to create a cone of silence like in the Get Smart TV show?

    And forget about lining highways with it, line the inside of your car's engine compartment and use that to provide extra power to recharging the battery or onboard devices.

    • by monkyyy (1901940)
      no u need to hear things going out side ur car such as police and how unhappy the person behind u is with ur speed
  • I've been experimenting with this for quite some time now, using off-the-shelf parts from Linear Technologies [linear.com], specialty micro transformers from Coilcraft, and standard junkbox parts. Both companies offer free samples, but the chips and associated coils are each under $5 each anyway.

    I found the LTC3108 [linear.com] (or the LTC3801-1 variant) best suited most of my projects, but the LTC3588/LTC3588-1 [linear.com] is better for capturing energy from ambient sound or vibration via a piezoelectric transducer. (Their evaluation kit, wh

  • Sound waves? How effective is that?

    Considering the amount of Hot Air my boss produces, cell companies should look into capturing that "valuable" resource. Its just like waste heat now.

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: A black panther is really a leopard that has a solid black coat rather then a spotted one.

Working...