By Evan Ackerman
We’ve been waiting (and waiting and waiting and waiting) for fuel cell technology to become commercially viable. Now Medis technology has the first generation of their portable, disposable, and relatively cheap fuel cell charger ready to juice up your gadgets, and they were showing it off at the CTIA Wireless Expo here in San Francisco.
The Medis 24-7 Power Pack is portable power system designed to keep your handheld devices operational while you are on the go. The Power Pack has enough power to drive many handheld devices when the battery is nearly depleted and it will also function as a portable charger.
The 24-7 Power Pack provides sufficient energy to provide up to 30 hours of talk time to an average mobile phone or 60-80 hours of play time for an average iPod. The power is sufficient (1 watt)) to operate, and charge, multiple times, a wide range of the standard and advanced portable electronic devices in the market today.
In its current incarnation, the power pack itself is not directly rechargeable… You use it up, and then recycle the old one (the box it comes in is also a mailing container) and buy a new one. It’s not the most efficient (or the sleekest) system, but it’s a good start. You can buy different adapter tips to charge a wide variety of gadgets, and a supplementary battery cable helps pump up the output enough to charge higher drain electronics like iPhones. Once you engage the fuel system in each cell (by squeezing the unit), you’ve got about 3 months before it goes dead on you. Un-squeezed, it’s got a shelf life of years.
The Medis Power Pack is certainly a first-gen product, but you can buy it now and put it to work for $40 for the starter kit and a bit over $20 for the replacement cells. Medis has some fairly ambitious plans for their product; in the next few years, they’re hoping to introduce replaceable fuel cartridges (as opposed to recyclable cells) as well as a system designed to provide 8 hours of power for laptops. Personally, I’m looking forward to something a bit more, um, svelte.
[ Medis Power Pack ]