Nokia E-Cu by Patrick Hyland


Nokia E-Cu by Patrick Hyland

This mobile phone concept by London designer Patrick Hyland can be charged by the heat in your pocket.

Nokia E-Cu by Patrick Hyland

An integrated thermogenerator converts heat from any source into electrical energy to charge the phone, whether while being carried in your pocket or placed on top of a radiator.

Nokia E-Cu by Patrick Hyland

The case of the phone is made of copper and features engraved heat-sinks in the shape of dried earth.

Nokia E-Cu by Patrick Hyland

Here's more from Hyland:

Nokia E-Cu (E for environment, Cu for Copper)
Heat-conductive charging system

Creating a charger-free cellphone future

Annually, unwanted phone chargers produce 51,000 tons of waste in addition to the greenhouse gases created by the production of the electricity needed to charge them.

Nokia E-Cu by Patrick Hyland

The Nokia E-Cu is a mobile phone charged by sources of heat therefore eradicating the need for a charger. The phone has a thermogenerator integrated inside, which converts heat energy into electric potential energy.

Nokia E-Cu by Patrick Hyland

It is surrounded by copper with engraved heatsinks in a dry earth pattern which represents the effect of heat on the natural environment. The phone can be charged by placing it on any source of heat e.g. a radiator, even inside a pocket.

See also:


Eco-friendly phone for Nokia
by Daizi Zheng
Etre Touchy
by Etre
Punkt. DP 01 by
Jasper Morrison

Posted on Wednesday October 6th 2010 at 4:06 pm by Brad Turner. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Anna

    Where can I get this phone? It's absolutely genious!

  • skouros

    very interesting application of technological advances as well as visual representation of internals

  • Andy

    That is very very smart and I love the reference to the dry earth for the motif. Does the processor in the mobile produce any heat like it does in a laptop/PC, and could that also be used alongside the body heat.

  • Lustig

    Useless like "concept" cars.

  • James

    Looks so dated alr

  • Paul Dale

    How cool! (pun intended….)

    Love the design as much as the theory on this one, too.

  • nanoonanoo

    Love the technology but hate (as so often) the design.

  • ian

    I'm going to design a concept chair that will grant eternal life and save the world. It will work just because its a concept and i say it will.

    • matt

      where can i buy that chair?!

  • great. what about the high copper prices? i think there is more needed as the cable and the charger main part does.

  • This is an excellent principle, but I'm not sure it is "The" solution by using copper! Since we need to have millions of phones around the world and especially to preserve our mother earth… already for the medium term this solution is doomed not to see the day because of the scarcity of copper! Emerging countries like China and India consume a lot of raw materials and when we say raw material, we say substance extracted from nature such as: oil, wheat, natural gas, minerals (copper), rice, corn, rubber, etc..

    I think you should keep this clever good idea of the phone who has a thermogenerator integrated inside, which converts heat energy into electric potential energy and go further!

    Congratulations and good luck,

    François Beydoun

  • mmm

    Apart for a steamturbine, does that even exist, a thermogenerator?

    • Juan Carlos

      I'll say it again anyhow: thermogenerators need a temperature DIFERENCE to be able to generate electricity, a hot source and a cooler sink, that way the energy moves from the source to the sink allowing the thermogenerator to "steal" some of that transfer in the form of electricity.

      If you only have one set temperature, either cold or hot, no energy transfer occurs and, thus, no electricity whatsoever.

      Too bad :-(

  • sgz

    finally! a phone thats a phone… and it wont stick bulge outta my pocket

  • Greg Lowry

    There is a projected scarcity of copper over the NEXT CENTURY, but not imminently. It's not a particularly high-lost metal for a product of this kind and in any event its intrinsic value makes it economically viable for cost-effective recycling. What the world needs less of is plastic. That aside, it's an interesting concept with potential. The thermogenerator concept has applications for many products. Lots of potential here! Needs more work, but I'm sure the designer knows that. Whether or not one likes the specific form factor is largely irrelevant at this point.

    Greg Lowry

  • hcch

    i am sure this idea has been tossed around for quite some time already. Nokia has been falling behind in its design (no matter what they do it always looks very 90s), and although they still have the biggest piece of the market the competitors are catching up. I guess throwing some money to this idea makes a bit of sense although at this point this very basic premise, which has been applied to other devices with questionable results, seems very sketchy and leaves a lot of unanswered questions and seems to be marketed for northern European countries alone.


    is this prototype working? or is it just pictures?

  • Bopp

    the copper can be recycled, that's nice. I'm not a fan of the dry earth patterns, please stay with the core business and no tacky references.
    Still a nice phone though.

  • Laura

    Idea is interesting, design just bad.

    I guess this is not design for Nokia, but Nokia really should develope this and charching system generally to beat Apple. Design is not Nokias strenght but maybe they could push more this kind of innovations.

  • Thank you for the comments guys, however insightful or critical.

    Firstly I would like to state that this was my degree project from Central Saint Martins back in 2009 and Nokia was my client and set a brief for an eco- friendly phone and had no involvement in the design and development process of the phone- only presented to them for feedback and did not make any further progress after that.

    As for the scarcity of copper, It is the best conductive material of its kind for heat and is recyclable (some phone stores now have a 'trade-in' for a new phone or cash for their old one so therefore it can be recycled or reused within the supplier) but if anyone as any other suggestions of the material, I'd be happy to hear about it.

    About the design- It does look a bit dated due to its keyboard and screen appearance but in terms of power usage and it's more efficient than touchscreen.

    The dry earth pattern represents heat as it relies on the source to charge and the angular shape of the phone also relates to the angularity of the pattern.

    The thermogenerator technology incorporated in the phone is viable- if you would like to know more about it please contact me through by my facebook account.

    Nowadays, technology is evolving more rapidly and eventually the future will become plug-less which I hope it does happen! It'd be good for the environment.

    Thank you again for your interests and views in this product.

    Patrick Hyland

    • Juan Carlos

      Hi Patrick,

      Although the design is slick, the whole idea of getting energy from what you refer to as heat is, unfortunately, simply impossible. It's not me saying that, is science. The second law of thermodynamics to be precise.

      Thermogenerators do generate electricity from heat, where heat is defined as the energy transfer between a hot source and a cooler sink.

      If you put that phone near your body at some 36.5 degrees celsius, the phone will achieve that temperature in a couple of minutes, so energy transfer will stop.

      It would be great, but it has not been done because it can't be done.

      Juan Carlos—

  • laura skeeters

    This phone looks like it has been designed for one of the Fantastic 4, the Rock!

    The front is nice and sleek, even if the clipped corners make it a bit funky, but the back is as ugly as hell! It looks like a sick lizard!

  • For people that look at design blogs, allot of people tend to have a huge misconception of good design and a skewed idea of what a dated aesthetic is.
    this phone is quite beautiful, small, and quite classic. 90's? I lived through the 90's and I dont recall a heavy emphasis on facets and simplicity. people hating on concepts obviously know nothing about design and should save their comments for political blogs.

  • Bennett

    A new material called graphene is being developed, it is a layer of carbon 1 atom thick and is the most conductive material known to man, a small sheet of that should do the trick

  • ztef

    @ sgz

    What a crappy comment. I have an experia and it is rather flat and i hardly notice it in my pocket. Phones have changed, due to the reference of what they are used for. And i like this one as being a more classic phone.

    And i do like the idea. It is an idea and maybe not the solution, but well done trying from my point of view.

  • Juan Carlos

    > The thermogenerator technology incorporated in the phone is viable- if you would
    > like to know more about it please contact me through by my facebook account.

    Too bad there is a second principle of thermodynamics.

    Juan Carlos—

  • Hussein

    to me the design doesn’t matter at all but the idea to save the energy of mobiles chargers is brilliant amazing ……. and after reading the comments all cars start as concepts and then developing make it reality ..

    i hope such concepts become real , good luck Patrick


  • kathleen

    woah,, this is awesome.. but i just wanna ask…


    i mean,, there’s gotta be something.. right? no offense pls.. i need answers..

  • Pure self-indulgent eco-masturbation. Yet another green energy concept that is completely infeasible within the physical constraints of this universe!

    Let's do a back-of-the-envelope calculation. Factoring in the fundamental Carnot efficiency limit, in a cold room you can extract about 5-6W from the whole body's surface (according to T. Starner, IBM Systems Journal,Vol. 35, No. 384, 1996, pp. 618-629). So let's say your body surface area is 2m^2, and your phone has an area of 0.01m^2 (about double the size of an iphone) and it's in perfect contact with the skin, that's a heat flow of 6W*0.01/2=30mW. Assuming the thermogenerator is 100% efficient (it isn't), and your mobile phone has a 1Ah 3.7V lithium ion battery (=3.7Wh) then it will take 3.7/0.03 = 123 hours to charge your phone.

    Incidentally, current thermogenerator technology is around 7% efficient, which brings the charging time up to 1757 hours, around 10 weeks.

    Like almost every other eco concept out there, the design is pretty but the numbers just don't add up. Painting something green (or coppery) isn't enough to save the world. The time would have been better spent on a campaign to encourage users to keep their existing phone for another six months before chucking it in the landfill. Nokia wouldn't fund it, but imagine the energy savings!

  • Shiva

    This is an excellent Idea, although I doubt it will be able to fully charge in a practical amount of time, wouldn't it be much more practical if there was a secondary input plug for charging with a wall charger?

    This is a step, not a solution, as many other comments have said. Focus on being able to present the idea, and hundreds of other manufacturers and designers will improve on it far more than you can on your own. This would be the Ideal solution for the benefit of the community, rather than personal gain.

  • Shiva

    If you were to give us statistical data, such as:
    Does the temperature of the heat source determine rate of charge?
    Does the phone fully charge within a few hours with the heat provided by a pocket?
    Does the symbolism within the phone (i.e. cracked earth, angular style) really matter, or is it a secondary goal?
    Will it easily break under pressure or malfunction?
    Can you incorporate practical usage such as waterproofing or solar power into the already existing design?
    Is heat always readily available to charge the phone?
    Will the battery drain quickly?
    Can you bring this phone to compete with existing companies such as android or apple?

    Are you willing to lose what you have created to a greedy businessman???

    All of these questions are viable excuses for a company to refuse to manufacture your design, even Nokia, who you started off with, could deny the concept. If you can manage to find a proper solution to these questions, there is no doubt in my mind that this phone will be a best-seller.

  • Wow that is the cutest and stylish phone that i ever seen. Why in this world it is not available in the cellphone stores? Anyway, this is a great post. I also must say that your layout is awesome. Keep up the good posts.

  • Angelous

    This reminds me of Sekio's thermo watch, it was created with the same thought in mind, no battery replacement, and effieicnt.

    P.s Love the design, when can i get one!

  • Bopp

    the copper can be recycled, that's nice. I'm not a fan of the dry earth patterns, please stay with the core business and no tacky references.
    Still a nice phone though.

  • This mobile phone concept by London designer Patrick Hyland can be charged by the heat in your pocket. Wow.