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Brightest Cell Phone Innovation Ever

Cell phones are the "black hole" of gadgets. Other stand-alone gadgets get sucked into phones, their functionality duplicated in phones, and replaced -- PDAs, wristwatches, calculators and, in the future, MP3 players, TV remote control units and more. But the best feature you could possibly put into a cell phone -- or any other gadget for that matter -- is technology that would enable it to charge itself without being plugged in.
Cell phones are the "black hole" of gadgets. Other stand-alone gadgets get sucked into phones, their functionality duplicated in phones, and replaced -- PDAs, wristwatches, calculators and, in the future, MP3 players, TV remote control units and more. But the best feature you could possibly put into a cell phone -- or any other gadget for that matter -- is technology that would enable it to charge itself without being plugged in.Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is an alliance of more than 50 research institutions, mostly in Germany, that pool their research and collaborate on innovative technology.

Fraunhofer researchers are working on the problem of alternative power generation for gadgets -- including for cell phones and music players. One group called Solar Engineering Systems has already demonstrated a solar-powered cell phone that never needs to be charged and never needs to be turned off -- assuming you can get it into sunlight for a few hours per day.

The details on solar powered cell phone technology are sketchy, and real products are at least a few years away. But this is an area of research that will result in gadgets that are better for the environment, more convenient, better in emergencies (such as when someone gets lost while hiking) and will reduce the AC adaptor clutter that plagues our homes and offices. (via The Red Ferret Journal)

Editor's Choice
Brian T. Horowitz, Contributing Reporter
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
Nathan Eddy, Freelance Writer
Brandon Taylor, Digital Editorial Program Manager
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing