Electronics

Solarbox puts old London phone boxes to work charging your smartphone

Solarbox puts old London phone...
Solarbox aims to provides a quick and free smartphone battery top up
Solarbox aims to provides a quick and free smartphone battery top up
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Solarbox aims to provides a quick and free smartphone battery top up
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Solarbox aims to provides a quick and free smartphone battery top up
The team behind the project estimates that users will get around a 20 percent charge boost from a 12 minutes visit
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The team behind the project estimates that users will get around a 20 percent charge boost from a 12 minutes visit
The advertising screen, which is actually an iPad, is reinforced to protect against vandals, and the kiosks are locked at night
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The advertising screen, which is actually an iPad, is reinforced to protect against vandals, and the kiosks are locked at night

Though many manufacturers put a lot of emphasis on how their smartphones offer "all-day battery life,” having your handset pass out on you is still a fairly common problem. London-based project Solarbox aims to help keep mobile phone users mobile by re-purposing the iconic red phone boxes for use as free, solar-powered quick charging stations.

Solarbox takes an unloved London phone box, gives it a new paint job and installs a 150-watt solar panel, adds some mini/micro-USB and iPhone chargers inside and opens it up to the public. The first six charging kiosks were opened on Wednesday in Tottenham Court Road, with 85 members of the public making use of them in a single day.

The team behind the project estimates that users will get around a 20 percent charge boost from a 12 minute visit. This is obviously dependent on the model of the device itself, as well as what apps the user is running, and it’s possible to get a bigger boost if the handset is switched to airplane mode.

The team behind the project estimates that users will get around a 20 percent charge boost from a 12 minutes visit
The team behind the project estimates that users will get around a 20 percent charge boost from a 12 minutes visit

The charging stations are free to use, with revenue for the project being provided by an integrated advertising system. While users are standing waiting for their device’s battery life to tick into the green, they’ll be treated to a range of short adverts on a built-in screen. The advertising screen, which is actually an iPad, is reinforced to protect against vandals, and the kiosks are locked at night.

Solarbox is the brainchild of entrepreneurs Kirsty Kenny and Harold Craston, who earned second place recognition for the project in the Mayor of London’s Low Carbon Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Though there are currently only six boxes available for use, the team told Gizmag that Londoners can expect to see at least six more of the charging stations turn up in the city by the early part of next year.

Source: Solarbox

6 comments
BigGoofyGuy
I think that is a really neat use for them. Perhaps create new ones that look like the old ones but with the newer uses; cell phone charging and/or be wifi hot spots. Perhaps in the US, we could repurpose phone booths as charging stations? Perhaps have some as wifi hot spots too? Perhaps have it where one could plug in ones device - phone or tablet - from the outside so more than one can use it? Being solar is a definite plus but it should have some sort of backup when the sun is not shining (overcast / cloudy day).
Bob Flint
If you really have time to stand around here waiting for your charge then you have enough time to remember to do it at home...
Freyr Gunnar
> London-based project Solarbox aims to help keep mobile phone users mobile by re-purposing the iconic red phone boxes for use as free, solar-powered quick charging stations. Why does it have to be solar-powered, especially in sun-deprived UK?
JPAR
These old phone boxes were phased out long before mobile phones became commonplace. Why? because they were perfect as urinals .... and they are still perfect as such, although they'll also become popular for the homeless. As a business concept? Complete fail.
agulesin
Nice way to re-use the many red phone boxes which must be lying around scrapyards all over the country (if they haven't all been sold as souvenirs). "they’ll be treated to a range of short adverts on a built-in screen." Not everyone is that stupid; just turn around and read a newspaper/magazine while waiting for the phone to charge.
David Clarke
If you wanted to make a call and your battery was dead, could you not plug in to a power socket in the phone box and use your phone? Also the phone could recharge while you were having a chat. Just an idea!