It looks like RIM planned on people refueling their cellphones way before fuel cell technology has even taken off. RIM applied for this patent for placement of fuel cells in smartphones back in 2009 and was just awarded a patent for it. Engadget spotted RIM’s new patent make its way onto the USPTO which describes placing a fuel cell between the keyboard and circuit board of the phone. That way the fuel cell would somehow ventilate through the keyboard.
I am not sure how this would all work without melting your fingers or burning a hole in your pocket but its fun to see how far ahead engineers at RIM have been thinking even 3 years ago. Check out the full patent filing here. I copied the abstract below:
A mobile device having: a keyboard; a printed circuit board having at least one contact responsive to the keyboard; and a fuel cell assembly having: a fuel cell located between the keyboard and the printed circuit board, the fuel cell having a membrane and at least one aperture corresponding with the at least one contact; a tank adapted to store a fuel for the fuel cell; and piping connecting the tank with the fuel cell, where the fuel cell ventilates through the keyboard. Alternatively, the fuel cell acts as the printed circuit board and at least one contact for the keyboard is printed onto the fuel cell.