Trio hopes their invention will fly

Team comes up with 'Hummingbird' that takes three minutes to bring a flat battery back to life

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 24 June, 2013, 5:33am

Seeing the power go out on your mobile phone and having precious little time to recharge it is one of life's niggling problems, but three young bright sparks at Polytechnic University think they've found a solution. Hansen Chan Hing-sum, 23, Gary Cheung Kam-pan, 25, and Kenneth Chan Cheuk-hei, 22, have created what they call the Hummingbird, a small, nimble charger based on its namesake.

Dubbed a portable supercharger, it can replenish a smartphone battery to about half full in about three minutes. Recharging a flat battery with a standard charger takes around 90 minutes.

They say it has the potential to provide "infinite power" to a device. Their technology is based on firing multiple electrons - electronic particles - at a faster speed to increase the rate at which the electricity moves into the phone.

They say the device could be installed at convenience stores and coffee shops, which would act as charging stations where customers can dock their phones for a quick charge.

The trio describe their product as an "innovative charging solution ideal for hectic urban lifestyles".

"I ran out of battery one day and I couldn't contact anyone and I couldn't find anybody with a charger - and then trying to borrow a phone was a horrible experience," Cheung said, explaining how he came up with the idea.

He hopes the Hummingbird will be in shops by 2014, priced at about HK$500.

The three innovators, who are engineering students, will present their design at a global competition for innovation and entrepreneurship today.

Chan said the competition would feature "some great ideas in different areas so I can't compare them to the Hummingbird".

His team's invention will be pitched against 29 others as other inventors attempt to impress a panel of judges at the Global Student Challenge hosted by Polytechnic University.

However, the Hummingbird is not the only invention that will instantly recharge a smartphone battery.

Eesha Khare, an 18-year-old Indian-American student based in California, has developed a device that has the potential to re-energise a smartphone in just 20 seconds.

Her work has attracted the attention of technology giant Google, which has approached Khare with a view to developing her invention into products with wider uses, like charging electric vehicles.

For now, however, the student has no intention of selling her work.