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Your phone is winding me up

How to make crank calls and save electricity

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A UK firm has designed what’s thought to be the world’s first mobile phone with an integrated wind-up charger mechanism.

Wind-up chargers for a wide variety of gadgets have been available for years. But TCL - the firm behind the wind-up handset - claims a greater amount of energy will be created by cranking power directly into a phone’s battery, through an integrated ultra-thin dynamo.

“With our system the generator accesses the battery directly, and that really increases the efficiency of the system," Tony Davies of TCL told the BBC.

The result is more charge per wind, he says.

One minute of cranking should create enough power for a four-minute voice call, but integrated rear-mounted solar panels provide an additional method of power collection.

But one downside to the phone’s integrated crank, as we see it, is that you will need to keep cranking the handle while the phone’s clamped to your ear. Surely this process is made much easier by a wind-up charger with a long power cable?

The wind-up phone is at the prototype stage, but TCL expects it to come to market. It thinks it will sell well in developing countries and in areas where network coverage is good - but the power supply isn’t. ®

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