I’ve been trying to quit soda for the past few weeks thanks to too many hours on Reddit and constant streams of photos that displayed how much sugar was in a can of Coke. As a result, there are untouched cans of soda sitting my fridge with no one to claim them, but it felt irresponsible if I just gave them to the kids next door. If only this eco-friendly concept cellphone existed. The design, by China-based Daizi Zheng, claims that a Nokia phone could be powered solely on sugary drinks. Now there’s an interesting use of leftover Coke that’s much more excitable than cleaning the rust off my pennies.
According to Zheng’s thesis, the phone would contain a chemical board that can form a reaction to utilize sugar enzymes and carbohydrates and convert them into electric power. The phone would work with most sugary drinks; in fact, more sugar means longer battery life. When the sugar and carbs are all used up as battery, you’re left over with a liquid that’s biodegradable, and the phone can be cleaned, refilled, and reused once again.
“Bio-batteries are fully biodegradable and have, on a single charge, a potential life-span three to four times longer than conventional lithium batteries,” Zheng writes on his website. Keep in mind, however, this design would be used with a basic, barebone phone, so no sticky touchscreen and apps here.
Since the design aims to be environmentally-friendly, it’s probably better to use straight sugar water than Coke or other packaged sodas, considering how they tend come in plastic bottles or cans — both of which are already pretty expensive to recycle. Still, it would be cool if the phone doubled as a drink bottle so you can choose to either gulp your soda or conserve it for more phone battery. This rationale would force the user to pick between drinking an unhealthy beverage or forgo it for the sake of your gadget’s usability. However, since the sugar disappears as the phone uses up the battery, it is unlikely that the soda you do end up drinking from the phone would taste any good. We also have to wonder if the fizzy noise would interfere with your sugar high calls.
It’s an interesting approach at multi-purposing a notorious food item, and such a gadget would make a neat science experiment for kids to learn about the wonders (and potential harms) of what sugary drinks means to them, and the chemical world.