London: Now, you won’t have to look for a socket to charge your phone or a laptop. Researchers have developed a wireless-power transfer (WPT) technology that can charge mobile phones from a distance.
The WPT technology developed by researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) works just as Wi-Fi works for internet connections.
It allows mobile devices to be charged at any location and in any direction, even if the devices are away from the power source.
With this technology, your device will automatically get charged without being tethered to a charger if you are in the designated area where the charging is available, like the Wi-Fi Power zone, the researchers said.
The system can charge multiple devices simultaneously and in all directions up to half a meter away from the power source, said lead researcher professor Chun T. Rim.
The results were published in IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics. Rim’s team has successfully showcased the technology on at a lab on KAIST’s campus.
Until now, all wireless-charging technologies have had difficulties with the problem of short charging distance, mostly less than 10 cm, as well as charging conditions that the devices should be placed in a fixed position.
For example, the Samsung Galaxy S6 could only be charged wirelessly in a fixed position, having one degree of freedom.
“Our transmitter system is safe for humans and compatible with other electronic devices. We have solved major issues of short charging distance and the dependence on charging directions,” Rim said.
As new smartphones hit the market month in month out, one Slovak technology buff is offering visitors to his vintage phone museum a trip down memory lane – to when cell phones weighed more than today’s computers and most people couldn’t afford them.
Twenty-six-year-old online marketing specialist Stefan Polgari from Slovakia began his collection more than two years ago when he bought a stock of old cell phones online. Today, his collection at the vintage phone museum boasts some 1,500 models, or 3,500 pieces when counting duplicates.
The vintage phone museum (website: http://www.mobilephonemuseum.org/), which takes up two rooms in his house in the small eastern town of Dobsina, opened last year and is accessible by appointment.
The collection includes the Nokia 3310, which recently got a facelift and re-release, as well as a fully functional, 20-year old, brick-like Siemens S4 model, which cost a whopping 23,000 Slovak koruna – more than twice the average monthly wage in Slovakia when it came out.
“These are design and technology masterpieces that did not steal your time. There are no phones younger than the first touchscreen models, definitely no smartphones,” said Mr. Polgari.
“It’s hard to say which phone is most valuable to me, perhaps the Nokia 3510i Star Wars edition,” said Mr. Polgari – who uses an iPhone in his daily life. (VOA)
Ugandan police spokesman Andrew Felix Kaweesi denied systemic police harassment. However, he said instances of misconduct by individual officers was possible.
“The police have no policy of harassing the prostitutes on the streets,” Kaweesi said.
“Those who are victims should report to our professional standards unit … Absolutely nobody will punish them. We will listen to their complaints and follow it up.”
In Uganda, sex work is illegal and highly stigmatized, making women like Fatia vulnerable to unlawful arrest, rape, bribery, beating and murder, rights groups say.
The Indigo Trust, a UK-based foundation under The Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts, gave Lady Mermaid’s Bureau a grant in 2014 to help Ugandan sex workers fight abuse using technology.
It has provided around 1,000 sex workers across Uganda with information-loaded digital memory cards so they can use their phones to learn how to protect themselves against violence, HIV/AIDS and unwanted pregnancies.
The material is available in multiple languages, and in written and video format, to maximize the number of women who can access it.
“They read them, follow them and do their work safely,” said Oliver Musoke, executive director of Lady Mermaid’s Bureau and a former sex worker.
The cards make it easier to reach larger numbers of women than through face-to-face counseling.
“Some women are not open (to meeting us),” said Musoke, who founded the organization in 2002 to improve sex workers’ access to medical, psychological and legal services and to educate them about sexual health and the law.
“They can read and take the information for themselves.”
The criminalization of sex work in the conservative East African nation makes it difficult for those living on its margins to learn about their rights.
Fatia began selling sex hoping to save her earnings for a year and go into business, selling baby clothes.
But she continues to work the streets because she cannot earn enough to escape. Most days she gets one or two clients; some days, none.
“When you use protection, they give you very little money,” she said. “It’s not a good job at all.”
Anyone who engages in prostitution is liable to seven years in jail, according to Uganda’s 1950 Penal Code.
The Minister of State for Ethics and Integrity, Simon Lokodo, a former Catholic priest, has vowed to crack down on both sex workers and their clients.
But it is largely poor women who are targeted.
“Harassment occurs any time because sex work is illegal,” said Daisy Nakato Namakula, a former sex worker who heads the Women’s Organization Network for Human Rights Advocacy (WONETHA), which promotes sex workers’ rights.
WONETHA has received 85 reports of sex workers being arrested and harassed by the police since January, but says many more cases go undocumented.
Officers sometimes threaten to publish sex workers’ faces in the media and refuse to allow those with HIV/AIDS who are arrested to be brought their medication, Namakula said.
Ugandan police spokesman Kaweesi denied these allegations.
“(All) suspects have full rights of access to their relatives, access to medical attention, access to meals,” he said.
Musoke of Lady Mermaid’s Bureau, which has worked with more than 12,000 sex workers across Uganda, believes she is slowly changing Ugandans’ attitudes.
One policeman recently asked for a memory card to learn more about the situation of sex workers in the community, LMB reported.
“I have passed through that life,” Musoke said.
“I know their problems… That’s why I decided to create (Lady Mermaid’s Bureau), to let them know that they are also human.” (VOA)