May 27, 2009 Mobile operator Orange and renewable energy specialists GotWind know they’ve hit the right target market, joining forces for the third consecutive year to showcase their outdoor charging solution at next month's Glastonbury Festival, the United Kingdom’s largest and hippest open-air music bash. This year Orange has unveiled a mobile phone charger prototype it’s calling the Orange Power Pump. By treading on what is essentially a standard camping air foot-pump, the kinetic energy created drives a small turbine inside the compact Power Pump. The energy is converted into electrical current, which recharges the mobile phone. The idea is not only simple, it cleverly encourages you to dance and charge your mobile at the same time.

Held at Worthy Farm, Pilton, in Somerset, the four-day festival doesn’t have any ready electricity supply to charge mobile devices, such as mobile phones, cameras and MP3 players. This is where the festival’s major sponsor Orange stepped in after getting wind, so to speak, of Gotwind’s portable, tent-mounted wind charger and immediately commissioned a prototype for the 2007 festival.

Last year, Orange launched a mobile phone charger prototype powered by dance energy. Nicknamed the Dance Charge, the 180g prototype – which was about the size of a pack of playing cards – was strapped to the upper arm. As the arm moved, a system of weights and magnets generated an electrical current that charged a battery.

At the time, tests showed the power output from an hour’s dancing was enough to recharge a Nokia N95 to two bars of charge or about 15 minutes of talk time.

The 2008 festival also saw Gotwind erect the world’s first freestanding renewable energy mobile phone charging station, the Recharge Pod Mk2, which provided 104 individual secure charging lockers. A similar design debuted at this year’s CES tradeshow in Las Vegas.

Like previous prototypes, the Orange Power Pump is compact and lightweight, measuring 154mm by 129mm and 47mm high and easy to carry about in a rucksack, a popular Glastonbury accessory. Tests show the turbine can generate enough energy to power a phone for a five-minute call in the time it takes to inflate a pillow.

Each year’s prototype release is the outcome of ongoing research between Orange and Gotwind, which tries to build on past experiences and findings.

“As official communications partner of Glastonbury, we pride ourselves on creating innovative, fun and ecologically aware products which enhance the Glastonbury experience by allowing festival goers to stay in touch with their friends onsite,” says Ian Smith, head of sponsorship for Orange in the UK.

“GotWind has worked with Orange for a third year to create yet another groundbreaking festival accessory that is sure to become a must-have when packing your rucksack,” says GotWind managing director, Dave Pain.

Orange also plans to set up its Chill ‘n’ Charge tent again this year, which will let festival-goers recharge their batteries – literally and figuratively. Some 600 mobile phone charging points, free internet access and live music will be available in the tent.

Orange will be showcasing the Orange Power Pump at this year’s festival from June 24-28. Updates from the field are here. More about the Glastonbury Festival is here.

Paul Best

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