Exclusive Pics: M2E's Motion-Powered Gadget Charger

M2E Power, a startup building technology that can harness everyday motion to power gadgets, is currently developing an external charger for powering cell phones and mobile devices that could be available as early as 2009. The company sent us these pictures of the prototype of the charger — above the jump the image illustrates the device’s estimated size at the time of completion, and below is the current prototype.

M2E Power’s director of business development, Regan Rowe, tells us that the company is aiming to have the charger provide an hour of talk time for some six hours of normal movement (about two days). Rowe says that since the average for most cell-phone users is about 30 minutes of talk time a day, the motion-powered charger “could take lots of folks off the grid.”

The company is based in Boise, Idaho, and has licensed technology from Idaho National Lab to create a microgenerator and a battery storage system that can capture energy from the daily motions of the human body. It works according to the principles of Faraday’s law of induction, which states that moving a conductor through a magnetic field will induce a current in that conductor proportional to the speed of movement. M2E has managed to tweak the output of the Faraday setup to generate a lot more power than previous kinetic energy systems — an increase of between 300 percent and 700 percent vs. what’s currently available, according to the company.

M2E tells us it’s talking with the accessories divisions of the major cell phone makers, as well as some of the major accessories manufacturers. Back in November the company raised $8 million from OVP Venture Partners, @Ventures and Highway 12 Ventures, to hire 12-15 people, mostly engineers and lab technicians, in an effort to get their first product into the military field sometime this year. The startup sees two main markets: one overseas, where it could improve the mobility of our troops, and one here at home, where it could provide extra juice to mobile consumer devices.