Student designs solar phone charger

Di’Quan Ishmon

Mechatronics engineering student Di’Quan Ishmon has solved the problem every person with a mobile device faces: a dead battery. In fact, he is gearing up to enter his invention in the Falling Walls Lab Competition in Champaign, Illinois on Friday, Sept. 27. If successful at this national competition, he will qualify to advance to the international Falling Walls Lab Competition in Berlin, Germany.

His project is a wireless invention called SoWiCh (Solar Wireless Charger). It collects energy from two types of solar panels to charge a li-ion (lithium-ion) rechargeable battery; one takes in sunlight and one takes in artificial light. The system can charge any handheld device and is small enough to fit in a pocket.

In addition, the heat generated from the device itself will be turned into electricity, creating a reusable energy source. With this method, it is using both green energy and reusable energy to keep a stable charge during the day and night, eliminating the need to charge a phone with electricity.

“This project is slowly introducing people to using green energy and reusable energy,” he said. “I decided on the invention in my junior year of high school with my dad. We would stay up past midnight talking about new technologies and how they can be improved,” said Ishmon. “I want to motivate the world to use green and reusable energy to power small devices.”

The College of Engineering and Engineering Technology (CEET) now offers bachelor’s degrees in Mechatronics Engineering. Ishmon says he chose NIU because hands-on experience in the labs starts freshman year, and he was also impressed with the faculty’s research. He chose the fast-growing field of mechatronics because it combines electrical and mechanical engineering. He is currently obtaining a combined bachelor’s and master’s degree in NIU’s accelerated 5-year program. He also received an Impact Scholarship.

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