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Technology

Engineering student taps phone radiation to charge batteries

Mr George Ouma of Amuo Technologies during the interview at Nation Centre on Monday. Photo/SALATON NJAU
Mr George Ouma of Amuo Technologies during the interview at Nation Centre on Monday. Photo/SALATON NJAU 

A fourth-year electrical engineering student at the University of Nairobi is already keen on innovation and eyeing the fast world of entrepreneurship.

Through his Auto-Run Cellphone innovation, 24-year-old George Ouma says that he is ready to revolutionise use of radiation to prolong battery life for mobile devices.

“The process involves a circuit which acts as a wave-electrical converter. Its function is to detect any magnetic field then convert about 90 per cent of it into electrical energy,” Mr Ouma, the founder of Amuo Technologies, told the Business Daily in an interview at the Nation Centre in Nairobi.

“After conversion, the electrical energy is fed into a voltage regulator, which makes sure only the required power enters a cell phone’s charging system since the voltage fluctuates depending on the network coverage and duration of phone use,’’ he said.

Mr Ouma says that the device uses radiation emitted by the phone, which it converts into electrical energy and regulated based on the phone’s specifications.

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“The more you use your phone, the more energy your battery gets hence it becomes an auto-run phone,’’ he said. “The device is attached on the phone antenna is located because that is where radioactivity is mainly concentrated.’’

The budding entrepreneur says that he came up with the gadget after frustration with mobile phone makers who promise long battery life only to disappoint.

“The trend is worrying. Every manufacturer wants to make money but few look at the welfare of the consumers, I saw the need to bridge the gap while at the same time use freely available energy to fix the situation,’’ said Ouma.

“It’s roughly seven years since I started thinking about the idea.”

And to market his innovation, the university student has participated in programmes to boost youth enterprises, but so far has not succeeded in making the big break.

“I demonstrated the device to President Uhuru Kenyatta during the launch of Uwezo Fund and he was happy with the whole concept,’’ says Ouma.

“The people around him (aides) promised to get back to me but nothing has happened since then.”

But the youthful innovator says that he is not about to give up. Instead, Mr Ouma is working on other innovations. He raises capital for his business from repairing mobile phones and computers when he is not in class.

“Through this project, I have also found out that noise can be converted to electromagnetic wave then into electrical energy since sound is also a form of energy,’’ says Mr Ouma.

He said that when he succeeds he would target industries that use machines which produce a lot of noise with the innovation.

“Top on my agenda will be Kipevu Power station in Mombasa which produces electricity using oil,’’ said Mr Ouma. “Engines that use this fuel produce a lot of noise that is enough to (produce energy to) run their control systems.”

He says that the innovation targets mobile phone users mostly in the rural areas without electricity.

Ouma also seeks to capitalise on mobile phone owners who use their devices frequently or travel over long distances without access to power to recharge their handsets.

“The beauty of this innovation is that the more you make calls, text or browse the Internet the more you generate energy that can be used on the mobile phone in case the battery goes low,’’ said Ouma.

“The device can also be installed in iPads and other tablet computers, reducing the hassle that comes with looking for a place to charge the mobile devices.’’

He says that mobile phones work on a high frequency band, which generates electromagnetic waves from nearby base station transmitter to the phone.

“As the waves get picked by the mobile phone antenna, electromagnetic field is able to form around it, propagating electromagnetic waves to and from circuits and devices,’’ said Ouma.

The Amuo Technologies founder says that he has successfully tested the device on different mobile phone models among them Nokia, Sony Ericson, Samsung and Huawei. He adds that his firm is ready to work with potential investors to commercialise the device.

However, Ouma laments that some firms and individuals want to buy his innovation at a throwaway price.

“I have been approached by people seeking to buy the idea, but their proposals are quiet low,’’ he says.

“My main aim is more of collaborations that will see the product sell and share the profit with the partner.”

Added advantage

One of the components that the device uses is LED Flasher that harvests the radiation and converts it into electricity, which charges the mobile phone.

He says that most of the smartphones are designed in such a way that not much of the radiation is emitted outside. This, Mr Ouma says, is an added advantage to the Auto-Run Cellphone device because it able to accumulate enough energy to charge a phone for two to three consecutive weeks.

He has also come up with a regulator to reduce the fluctuation of voltage produced.

“The voltage regulator used here must not introduce any resistance. If any, it should be minimised because the main thing in the whole process is energy conservation,’’ he said.

This is not the first time Ouma is venturing into the world of technology. His love for innovation, he says, dates back to his boyhood.

“I always loved anything touching on innovations that create a solution for the masses. Technology is very rewarding but requires a lot of patience and hard work before the final product goes to the market,’’ he said we parted.

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