Wind and solar power could be your iPod's next best friends

Energy for the taking: Wind turbines bask in the sun near Palm Springs, California.
Energy for the taking: Wind turbines bask in the sun near Palm Springs, California.Courtesy Mark Ryan
A new dual solar and wind-powered charger for personal electronic devices was on display at last weekend’s annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The K2 by Kinesis Industries is a handheld unit that allows you to harvest energy from both the sun and the wind and store it in an internal battery that can then be used to power all your energy-hungry USB-powered electronic gadgets.

You know what? I’m a sucker for this kind of thing. There’s been a few times I’ve lost battery power in my camera or cell phone and wished I had something like this. I’ll probably buy one even if I never use it. The idea is just so cool.

Portable chargers like this have been around for a while. Solio of California produces an array of solar-powered handheld chargers. PowerFilm in Ames, Iowa manufactures foldable thin film solar modules for a number of charging and direct powering applications. They rolled out a new USB and AA charger at this year’s show.

But evidently none match K2’s capacity or versatility. One hour gathering sunlight or wind with the K2 is enough to power 30 minutes of cell phone use or over 300 minutes of mp3 music. A full charge is enough to fully power your cell phone five times over. You can also plug the K2 into an AC outlet and store up power for later use that way.

But what happens if you forget to do that and it’s a cloudy day and the weather is dead calm? What’s a poor techno-weenie to do? Well, not to worry, the K2 also has a nifty side clip so you can attach it to your bicycle and generate your own wind. As of yet there’s no release date for the K2 but when it does come out, it’s expected to retail for about a hundred bucks.

Now, just so we’re clear, I have not personally tried any of the products mentioned in this story, so I can’t endorse or pooh-pooh any of them. You should do your own research before making any purchase of this technology. I just like the idea of being able to charge my gadgets anywhere I go. That way next time I’m stranded out in the middle of Wyoming and my iPod’s battery starts to fizzle during Britney’s latest hit, I’ll be golden.

Network World K2 review
Voltaic Systems. (Not at the show but makes cool laptop bags)
Captain Planet review of K2 (with a video)

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Candace's picture
Candace says:

thats cool, where can I get one of these chargers at? Bestbuy???

posted on Fri, 01/16/2009 - 11:55am
mdr's picture
mdr says:

Go to the company links in the story. They may tell you how and/or where you can purchase their products. The K2, however, hasn't been released yet.

posted on Fri, 01/16/2009 - 12:00pm
DavidS's picture
DavidS says:

Very interesting concept, sounds nifty but what happens when its night time, and no breeze.Your stranded, you didin't bring your bike and of course theres no phone around since your phone is dead. haha

posted on Fri, 01/16/2009 - 12:59pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

Couldn't this be a problem no matter where you're stranded or what you're using to power your portable electronic devices? I mean, batteries die all the time, and my mobile phone battery always seems to die when I don't have a power adapter with me or access to an outlet.

I think it's no different than having to make sure you have gas in your car. You know how far you're going, and how far you can get on a tank of gas, and you plan accordingly. Here, you'd know how long it takes to charge up your stuff and what conditions you'd need, and how quickly you're likely to run down the battery, and you'd work around those constraints.

The cool thing about the solar/wind/bike generator is that it can charge your phone 5 times over. That makes me less likely to get stranded without a phone, no matter what.

posted on Fri, 01/16/2009 - 1:19pm
lmen1001's picture
lmen1001 says:

If I got one and it was cloudy with no wind, I would turn on a fan or blow on it in order for it to work!!! :D

posted on Fri, 01/16/2009 - 11:56am
Tiffany Monique's picture

They should have solar powered ipod's.

posted on Fri, 01/16/2009 - 11:56am
chang's picture
chang says:

Solar energy is very cool because it stoped polution into our environment.

posted on Fri, 01/16/2009 - 12:27pm
dennisvang's picture
dennisvang says:

Intresting fact i never new that

posted on Fri, 01/16/2009 - 12:29pm
johana's picture
johana says:

Well I believe that this would be a great idea to conserve energy and create more effitient ways to use energy for our musical devices...ipods...=]

posted on Fri, 01/16/2009 - 12:30pm
lsmi1101's picture
lsmi1101 says:

where can i buy one!?!?!?!

*Class Of 2011*

posted on Fri, 01/16/2009 - 12:50pm
Candace's picture
Candace says:

does any one know when the k2 will come out? just out of curiosity...

posted on Wed, 02/25/2009 - 8:42am

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