An emergency radio that runs on arm power
GADGET: RunningSnail Solar Crank Radio
TECH SPECS: NOAA Weather, SOS alarm with flashing red light, AM/FM, flashlight, reading lamp and 2,000 mAh power bank
Price: Rs 2,053
Best for: Emergency alerts, SOS and trekking
The radio, as we know it today, is just another application on our smartphones that we tune in to when we want to hear our favourite RJs. For many people — especially in the rural areas — however, the radio has always played an important role in imparting information, news, education and entertainment with its songs, radio plays and so on.
The urban millennial may never have heard of a crank or wind-up radio, but the fact is that they have been around since 1989 when English inventor Trevor Baylis used a transistor radio, an electric motor from a toy car and a clockwork mechanism from a music box to invent the crank radio. He wanted to improve communications with the underprivileged in Africa to help slow the spread of HIV/AIDS.
These radios work on the principle of electromagnetic induction and are ideal for those with little money and no electricity. Such radios run on minimal and renewable power sources. All you have to do is turn the handle on the side for a minute or two and you can enjoy all the music you want.
Crank radios are designed to remain functional in cases of power outage or isolation from other people, such as when fishermen are out at sea, or when you are on a trekking expedition. It’ll allow you to get weather and disaster alerts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), so you’ll be aware of and ready for anything happening in your area.
A good crank radio like the RunningSnail Solar Crank can keep your other devices charged, light your way at night, and broadcast AM/FM stations. Not only can it transmit important information in remote locations with its NOAA weather alert, it also has SOS Morse Code with a flashing red light and a siren setting that plays a high-pitched sound through its speaker to alert people to your location if you are unable to move. It comes with micro USB cable and three AAA batteries.
Many of these crank radios, such as the Eton Scorpion, EyeMax WB 2009 and Kaito KA888, now come with other power source options, including USB, DC jack and even solar panels. By combining all of these options, you get a product that can be useful in a variety of situations.