Say hello to an exciting concept to keep your mobile phone working for longer by tapping into the stray energy present all around us. Soon you will be able to charge your smartphone by using traffic noise, unwanted music, chants from a football ground and even your own voice.

Scientists from Queen Mary University of London and Nokia have built an energy-harvesting prototype that generates enough power to charge a phone just by being exposed to everyday background noise.

The prototype, about the size of a Nokia Lumia phone, comprises energy-harvesting nanogenerators. These nanogenerators, according to British researchers, can turn vibrations generated by sound waves or movement into electricity.

“Being able to keep mobile devices working for longer, or do away with batteries completely by tapping into the stray energy that is all around us is an exciting concept,” said Joe Briscoe, a researcher at QMUL’s School of Engineering and Materials Science, who developed the concept together with his colleague Steve Dunn.

In their research, the team used the key properties of zinc oxide, “a material that when squashed or stretched creates a voltage by converting energy from motion into electrical energy, in the form of nanorods. The nanorods can be coated onto various surfaces in different locations making the energy harvesting quite versatile. When this surface is squashed or stretched, the nanorods then generate a high voltage,” phys.org said in a report.

The nanorods respond to vibration that is created by everyday sound. Electrical contacts on both sides of the rods are then used to harvest the voltage to charge a phone, the report added.