The solution has been named The Nipper and can run off of standard AA batteries. The Nipper is a 17mm x 17mm x 17mm cube that weighs 10g and is designed to be small enough to fit perfectly on a keyring, or fit into a pocket or bag.
The Nipper contains three neodynium magnets which serve the double function of holding the batteries together while at the same time making an electrical connection to the Nipper's circuit board. The device's boost converter turns the power from the batteries into a 5 V power supply to charge a phone.
The duo came up with the design at a Makeathon run by the UK’s Makerversity when they with confronted with having to find a solution within 48 hours to the challenge of finding a way to recharge the battery on a phone while out and about and having no power socket in sight.
The Nipper currently works with any phone or other device with a micro-USB connector (Samsung, HTC, LG, Nokia) and is developing a version compatible with the iPhone.
The Nipper was primarily designed for emergency use. When all else fails, when all hope is lost - in situations where you desperately need to use your phone but have no access to laptops, electrical sockets, wind turbines or solar panels the designers claim that the Nipper will be there for you.
For a modern smartphone, the Nipper claims to give an extra 10% battery capacity in 30 minutes, and 20% in over an hour. The power output varies depending on the batteries used but the designers say that with new Duracell batteries they found it gave 500 mAh.
“From the design point of view it had to be small enough to fit on a key ring and the production Nipper is no bigger than a couple of Mentos. We also realised that you can lay your hands on a packet of AA batteries 24/7 almost anywhere in the world," explained Stokes. “From that point it was simply a question of engineering a way to get the power from household batteries into a dead phone. The Nipper will work with any AA batteries and can give you up to an hour of talk time or seven hours of standby on most phones with a couple of batteries”