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To charge this smartphone, just scream

Nokia has joined forces with some clever scientist types to create a phone that’s charged by sound vibrations.

We’ve already speculated that battery life will soon be measured in weeks, not hours. And now that reality is another huge step closer, as Nokia teamed up with a team of boffins at the Queen Mary University of London to produce a smartphone powered by background noise.

Nokia and Queen May University of London team to create a smartphone battery charged by sound

The prototype phone is filled with nanogenerators (nanowires made from zinc oxide) which are manipulated by the pressure from sound vibrations. These tiny buggers convert this energy into electricity, which is then used by the phone for power.

Apparently this concept was introduced by Korean scientists back in 2010, and is known as the piezoelectric effect (mmm, pie).

The team at Queen Mary designed their prototype phone with these nanogenerators built in, and two sheets of aluminium foil as contacts to soak up the electricity. When they exposed the phone to a range of sounds such as background chatter, music and traffic, the set-up generated five volts of electricity, enough to charge a smartphone.

While this tech probably wouldn’t replace a standard battery entirely (at least not any time soon), it could prove a handy way of keeping your phone going when the battery’s almost dead, and prolonging the time between charges. Expect to see people walking down the street screaming at their mobiles in a couple of years.

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