Go ahead and pump up those jams, because a new technology that turns sound into electricity—enough to charge your cellphone or portable device—is about to revolutionize musical festivals everywhere. And the magic begins in your T-shirt. The high-tech tee, known as “Sound Charge,” is the brainchild of British telecommunications firm Orange, which will debut the prototype at England’s famed Glastonbury Festival this weekend. A collaboration with the renewable-energy experts at GotWind, Orange’s sound-absorber takes amplified acoustics and converts them into a steady charge. In other words, you can keep your mobile juiced simply by hanging out at a concert.
The Sound Charge T-shirt comprises a modified piezoelectric film, which acts as an oversized microphone by absorbing sound pressure waves. A series of interlaced quartz crystals converts the acoustic signals into electricity, which in turn feeds into an internal reservoir battery compatible with most cellphone models.
The T-shirt comprises a modified piezoelectric film, which acts as an oversized mic by absorbing sound waves.
Shirt looking a bit dingy after a weekend of headbanging outdoors? You can remove the film and electronics so the shirt can be safely thrown in the wash.
JUST PRESS PLAY
The developers estimate that sound levels at Glastonbury this weekend will average 80 decibels, about the same as a busy street. Over the course of the weekend, each shirt should generate about 6 watt-hours of electricity, which is sufficient for two standard mobile phones or one smartphone. The researchers will also be comparing musical acts to see which one generates more power.
Each shirt should generate about 6 watt-hours of electricity, sufficient for two mobile phones or one smartphone.
“In a vibrant festival environment such as Glastonbury, sound is such an obvious medium that it seemed like a natural fit to use it in the development of this year’s prototype,” says Andrew Pearchy, head of sponsorship at Orange, which introduced a pair of cellphone-charging galoshes, powered by heat and movement, at the festival last year.
Look out for the Orange and GotWind team at the Spirit of 71 stage, where rockers Terry Reid, Linda Lewis, Robyn Hitchcock, and Nick Lowe will be performing.