Mobile Phone Charging Station, Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival 2012
Mobile phones could soon be charge by using sound: a boon for music festivalgoers. Karl Walter/Getty Images for Coachella

Packed with apps and running full-time on the Internet, mobile phones are turning into energy guzzlers. But in the near future, you will just need to turn on the radio or talk to your phone to charge it.

A collaboration between scientists from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and Nokia has led to the testing of a concept from material scientists at QMUL. They found that playing pop and rock music improved the performance of solar cells.

Nokia worked with the QMUL team to create an energy-harvesting nanogenerator that can convert sound into electrical energy. The device is the same size as a Nokia Lumia 925 and generates five volts, which is enough to charge a phone.

It works by covering a plastic sheet with zinc oxide nanorods. This oxide produces a voltage when stretched or squashed. The team used aluminium foil to provide electrical contact, instead of gold.

The vibration from sound waves causes the zinc oxide nanorods to create voltage. Harvesting this energy to charge phones could soon be a sound and cheap reality.