When I turned on my computer this afternoon I had an article link from Fast Company waiting for me in my inbox. The article is about cell phone charging via bicycles. My first response?…Cool! The phones which are optimally designed to go with these chargers have a range of basic attributes including:
- Standby battery time of six weeks
- Double SIM card capable – meaning two people can use one phone on different accounts
- Standard flashlight
- Where available, information covering healthcare, agriculture, education and entertainment
The phones were made public today at a press conference in Nairobi, Kenya. I often hear about how cell phones and computers are leap-frogging land lines and print books in the developing world. This, however, means electricity is necessary. So enter the bicycle cell phone charger. According to Fast Company, “Hit 7.5mph and your bike will be charging your cell as quickly as a traditional charger would.” I’m about ready to switch out my touch screen and jump on a bike myself! While the article makes a great point that we can’t overlook the possible increased need for food intake inherent in bicycling to charge the phone, and of course no system is perfect, I can’t help but think that this little device is very handy. If a ten minute bike ride gives one nearly 30 minutes of talk time, then a bike ride to sell goat milk at the market in the next town could charge a cell for enough time to talk to a doctor about a health concern, enroll a child in a local school or let family in the capitol know that the caller survived the earthquake. Now that’s communication progress.