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 Bike-Powered Device Recharges Phone 
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Bike-Powered Device Recharges Phone

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Nokia just announced a bike kit that will allow riders to use pedal power to recharge mobile phones. First debuted in Kenya, the Nokia Bicycle Charger Kit will hit the international market by year's end. For novice cyclers and experienced bike commuters alike, devices that capture pedal power are clever and convenient.

In Kenya, the Nokia kit retails at approximately $18 -- it's aimed at developing areas where bikes are prevalent -- and can provide enough power to a Nokia mobile phone after 20 minutes at 10 miles per hour for about an hour of talk time, or an amazing 74 hours of standby. The kit includes a dynamo that attaches to the front wheel and connects to a holder that keeps the phone in place. Charge times vary, though, depending on the phone, and for now the kit is limited to sets with 2mm charging interfaces.

Having just spent nearly a month getting nervously reacquainted with bike riding by pedaling a zillion-pound mountain bike around, an affordable charger that takes advantage of all that sweaty energy sounds sweet to me. It's only fair to point out that Nokia definitely isn't the only company making green add-on devices for bikes. Several others are helping bikers take advantage of their rides:

The HYmini is a small fan-like device that's been around for several years. It can charge electronics using wind power and an internal 1200 mAh battery stores the electricity. According to the latest specifications, after 20 minutes of exposure to the wind the device can provide 40 minutes of play time on an Mp3 player. While I can't vouch for how well it actually works, a bike holder kit will position the small device on one of the handlebars to better capture the breeze.

Dahon Global's BioLogic ReeCharge kit has a 1600 mAh lithium polymer battery that attaches to a hub dynamo and can recharge USB-chargeable devices, including iPhones, cell phones, and GPS units. Last I saw, it was going to retail for around $100. Dahon also makes a bike mount that protects iPhones with a thin membrane in order for the phone to continue responding to touch so you can avoid the whole dangerous phoning-while-biking thing.

German cycling products company Busch & Müller makes a charger called E-Werk that also connects to a hub dynamo and can has knobs to adjust the voltage and current, depending on what you need. Released last year, E-Werk comes with a ton of adapters for all kinds of gadgets The disadvantages are that its initial release was aimed at the European market and the price was close to $179. Still, with all those adapters who needs to be bound to the grid any more?

Getting somewhere specific on the bike is usually enough motivation for me, but adding electricity generation could push me to take the long way there, and pedal like my phone depended on it.

Photo: Nokia's bicycle charger kit. Credit: Nokia.

http://news.discovery.com/tech/bike-pow ... phone.html

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Wed Jun 16, 2010 6:09 am
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