Might the next front in the cola wars consist of advertising campaigns aimed at convincing the public to pour a particular brand of soft drink into their cell phones?
It will if Chinese designer Daizi Zheng and Finnish electronics giant Nokia have their way. The two have teamed up to develop a biodegradable cell phone that runs on Coca-Cola.
The concept of a biodegradable cola-powered phone isn’t as absurd as it may seem. Electronics of all sorts have been moving towards using biodegradable components for years. Samsung has even made a phone made mostly of corn. And we’re not talking about some pie-in-the-sky concept model—you can buy it right now on Amazon for a mere US$0.01 (with a Sprint phone contract).
As for powering a gadget with foodstuff, that’s present day reality too. For instance: If you have an iPod it is easy to charge the battery using an onion, a glass of sports drink and common household equipment. Sugar contains energy. All that’s needed to convert sugar to electricity are enzymes. The trick is making that conversion process fast enough to power a gadget while it is operating.
The “Coke Phone” is still in the concept phase. As presently conceived, the phone has a 30-milliliter (1 oz) storage area into which the user pours the cola. That should provide enough juice for several hours of talk or a full week of standby time.
It is likely that all manner of small electronic devices, from tablet computers to ebook readers, will one day be powered by common liquids. That’s probably four to six years away from commercial viability. In the meantime, you may never look at a can of Coca-Cola in the same way again.