Orange to launch wind-powered mobile phone charger

You've probably seen mobile phone chargers that can power multiple devices at once and sync data between your phone and a PC. You may have even heard some rumblings about wireless chargers that power devices over the air or solar-powered cell phones. But how about a wind-powered cell phone charger?

Orange, the U.K.-based telecommunications firm, has announced plans to launch The Orange Mobile Wind Charger, a mini turbine that latches on to the top of a tent and stores power in a separate "control box" that users can plug into when their mobiles need juice.

The charger, which weighs roughly one-third of a pound and is small enough to fit into a backpack, was developed at the University of Texas at Arlington, according to Orange. Gotwind, a do-it-yourself website for energy enthusiasts, was commissioned to build the prototype charger. It was shown off at last month's Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts. In an environment with consistent 12 mph winds, it would take roughly 24 hours to charge an average mobile phone, according to Ben Jandrell, the founder of Gotwind.

The charger was designed for use in outdoor settings, like the Glastonbury Festival, to provide environmentally-friendly energy for cell phone users and others who may want to stay connected but don't have access to electrical outlets, according to Orange.

"It is important that we continue to innovate and demonstrate how mobile technology can make festival life a bit easier, whilst respecting Glastonbury's commitment to being environmentally aware," said Hattie Evans, Orange's head of sponsorship.

The smaller the blades on a turbine the longer it takes to generate power, so the Orange Mobile Wind Charger may not be as effective as a traditional power unit; however, it'll do the trick when there aren't any electrical outlets to plug into.

No official release date or pricing details have been set.

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