In our increasingly connected society, cellphones have shifted from a luxury to a need – especially in emergencies. The ability to share and obtain information can alleviate fears, assure loved ones, gain resources and even save lives.
But when the power goes out – and stays out – cell phones don’t last long. Fortunately, a solution is on the horizon, thanks to one Centralia College capstone project. Imagined by Aaron Fowler, “Charge It” is a simple, hand-held, affordable tool that uses flowing water to charge electronic devices. “I’m always trying to think of a way to make money,” Fowler said. “How do you make something from nothing? Water.”
Charge It easily hooks into a faucet, toilet, washer, or anywhere else water is already running. It connects to a device charger and a string of space-illuminating LED lights.
The concept was developed by Fowler, Tom Burney, Maurice Freeman and Jacob Thompson. “We researched water generators and turbines and came up with a tiny one we could put into a box,” Fowler said. “We really had a fun time.”
Charge It consists of a small hydraulic motor encased in a black, logo-branded box manufactured by a 3D printer. The end result is compact and visually appealing. There’s an input and output for water flow and the device connects to most faucets.
But that’s not all.
The project holds great potential. It could be adapted to charge devices using a flowing river. Or it could be retrofitted to a home’s water intake, generating energy from a resource that’s already moving.
It could also be adapted to use wind, powering cell phones on a long bike ride, for example. The potential is endless.
Centralia College will hold its seventh annual Capstone Presentation Day on Friday, June 7, in the Trans Alta Commons building. Oral presentations by English 102 students will be given in room 122 from 1-2 p.m. Poster and project displays will be in the banquet room from 1- 3:30 p.m.
The community is invited to view the presentations and projects, meet the students, hear talks on a variety of topics, and celebrate academic excellence. Light refreshments will be served. Admission is free.