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August 20, 2016 at 2:01 am #142865Kol DrakeModerator
Most backpackers carry their cellphones and even spiffy GPS systems. Sooner or later, they will need to be recharged… which can be a pain if you are hiking all day and can’t sit in one place all day for those mini solar arrays to charge them back up. ALong comes a small, lightweight wind turbine device…. not much bigger (when folded up) than an umbrella and useable ‘all night long’… so you can charge while you eat and rest — rain or shine or moon!
For times when a portable battery pack and solar charger won’t do, the power of the wind could be the way to charge your smartphone. École Cantonale d’Art Lausanne design student Nils Ferber has developed the Micro Wind Turbine, which came out of his personal experience of running out of battery during longer treks.
“I contacted a number of mountaineers, climbers, film-makers, and expedition leaders and asked them questions about their experiences, requirements and typical weather conditions. All of my contacts told me that they are usually using solar panels. But being entirely dependent on sunshine is a huge problem for them, sometimes putting them out of work for several days,” Ferber wrote on the James Dyson Award site. “They were instantly excited about a wind turbine but pointed out that weight, pack size and ease of use would be of greatest importance for them.”
To satisfy portability requirements, the Micro Wind Turbine weighs just over 2 pounds, which Ferber claims is 40 percent lighter than its closest competitor, and folds down to the size of an umbrella or trekking pole. Setting up the turbine is also designed to be easy thanks to a telescopic shaft that unfolds the wind-catching blades, also similar to the opening of an umbrella.
Properly set up, the turbine can generate five watts in an 11 mph wind, and can store that energy for later. “The turbine has an integrated 24 Wh battery pack that works as a buffer between [incoming] and outgoing loads and can also store energy for later use,” Ferber detailed to Digital Trends.
Ferber says that there are no other wind turbines of similar scale commercially available. “Comparable concepts are usually composed of many complex parts, are a lot heavier or produce only an insignificantly small output. Unsurprisingly, these mentioned drawbacks render them useless in real-world scenarios.”
Ferber completed a fully-working prototype of the Micro Wind Turbine by himself in June. Despite the Micro Wind Turbine’s design not requiring injection molded components (permitting to manufacture with little investment cost), Ferber says that further development is required before production.
“At the moment I consider the turbine too complex to go into production right away,” Ferber said. “Therefore I am currently looking for partners to continue the development toward a commercial product.”
The Micro Wind Turbine will debut at Dubai Design Week on October 24 to 29, 2016.
The webpage has a nice little video showing the collapsed unit being ‘packed in’ and set up in a minute. And, once the turbine is spinning well, you just plug a USB cable from the main shaft to your cellphone and boom…. instead angry birds…. er…. Pokemon Go….. um…. search & rescue?
August 21, 2016 at 4:10 am #192444JaxKeymaster
That’s really awesome!August 21, 2016 at 12:57 pm #192451NitsudParticipant
Cool and obvious idea surprised there are more designs like this. Maybe there are. But I want to see that pulled out of its sleeve AND staked vertically in under a minute. That’s my cheeky commentary on the video’s jump-cut.
Most personal tents have a rain cover that hooks on, its too bad it doesn’t mount the top of to tent poles with adjustable straps or bungees going to rain cover loops. Even a side clamp could make sense for bigger tents. That’d make it work with tree branches too, at the beach you can stake a tree branch into the sand where little stakes don’t stand a chance.
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