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Tag Archives: Power

Energizer iSurge Travel Charging Station

Energizer iSurge Travel Charging Station (Image courtesy Energizer)
By Andrew Liszewski

I’ll dock them a few points for the wholly unoriginal ‘iSurge’ name, but otherwise Energizer’s new travel charging station looks like an absolute must-have when you’re on the road. Particularly if you’re loaded down with Apple gear. Despite the company’s dubious ethics, in the past we’ve raved about Monster’s compact power bars for traveling, but Energizer may have one-upped them here.

In addition to turning a single outlet into three surge protected ones, the iSurge also sports a couple of 2.1 amp USB ports, allowing them to be used to charge devices like the iPad. On top you’ll even find a 30-pin dock for perching and charging your iPhone or iPod Touch. But if that’s not enough, the whole unit swivels 180 degrees so it can be used anywhere there’s a free outlet, and on the underside is an LED nightlight great for road warriors who get disoriented in strange places at night. Available in October for $60 it certainly isn’t cheap, but neither is having to buy a powerbar every time you travel and forget to bring one.

[ iLounge - Energizer intros iSurge Charging Station for iPod, iPhone ] VIA [ Ubergizmo ]

Harvesting Power From Broadcast Signals Is Back With The Rectenna

Rectenna (Image courtesy DigInfo TV)
By Andrew Liszewski

A few years ago, at CES2010, we discovered a concept device that RCA was showing off that promised to harvest electricity from wi-fi signals, which could then be used to charge mobile devices. The ‘Airnergy’ charger, as they called it, sparked a lot of discussion about whether or not such a technology was even possible. And sure enough, at CES 2011, the Airnergy devices were no where to be seen at RCA’s booth. We assumed that would be the last we’d hear about the concept, but a Japanese company called Nihon Dengyo Kosaku has apparently picked up the torch.

Their unfortunately named ‘Rectenna’, which is actually a combination of the words ‘rectifying’ and ‘antenna’, is able to convert terrestrial TV broadcast signals, or wi-fi, back into usable electricity. At a recent trade show in Tokyo, where the company was showing off the technology, they were able to harvest about 1.2mV and 0.06µW of power from a TV broadcast antenna located about 3.4 miles away. Not a heck of a lot of juice of course, but there are electronics that can run on just micro-watts of power. So while it won’t be useful for charging your smartphone, it does seem to be a viable way to wirelessly power certain barebones devices.

[ DigInfo TV - Rectenna Converts Radio Waves To Electricity ] VIA [ Akihabara News ]

Zip Multi-Charging Station

Zip Multi-Charging Station (Images courtesy The Joy Factory)
By Andrew Liszewski

Now that there’s a unified standard, induction charging is going to start working its way into more and more devices as a built-in feature. But it’s not going to happen overnight, and there’s limited options when it comes to upgrading current technology to take advantage of wireless charging. One of the more common solutions, and the approach that The Joy Factory’s new Zip charging station take, is to serve as a sort of streamlined power bar. In that you still have to connect your devices with a cable, but the actual power connection is done via magnets and induction, instead of a pronged plug.

The Zip multi-charging station uses short ‘ZipTail’ cables that connect to the ports on a wide variety of devices, from smartphones to eReaders, and then easily connect to a charging pad. While the pad appears to have 16 available dimples for charging a multitude of devices, it in fact can only charge about 3 cellphones at once, give or take, depending on their power needs. So I guess the large assortment of dimples gives you flexibility on where to ‘plug’ each device in. For $79.95 you get the charging pad, a miniUSB cable and 2 x microUSB cables. Other cables, designed for devices with proprietary connectors, are also available but sold separately.

[ The Joy Factory - Zip Multi-Charging Station ]

PowerTrekk Fuel Cell Powered Charger

PowerTrekk Fuel Cell Powered Charger (Image courtesy myFC AB)
By Andrew Liszewski

The prospect of one day being able to recharge your gadgets with nothing more than a spoonful of H20 is very tantalizing, and the PowerTrekk Fuel Cell Charger could be the closest thing to that dream you can get your hands on today. Or very soon at the least. It’s a combination portable battery pack and fuel cell that promises to provide all the juice you need when you’re away from an outlet, since it turns regular old water (at least the hydrogen portion) into electricity.

You just need to insert one of their PowerPukk fuel packs, add about a tablespoon of water, and instantly the power will start to flow. But of course the success of the PowerTrekk completely relies on these replaceable PowerPukks, and at the moment I have a lot of questions the company’s website simply does not have the answers for. Like how much the pucks cost and just how much power they each provide. And even though they have to be recycled when spent (the pucks are considered electronic waste afterwards) does the PowerTrekk end up being more efficient and/or eco-friendly than just hauling around a few extra rechargeable battery packs? Hopefully these questions and more will be answered next week as the official worldwide launch for the PowerTrekk takes place at the Mobile World Congress show.

[ PowerTrekk Fuel Cell Powered Charger ]

Multi Lines Extension Cords Put The Extra Outlets Along The Cable

Multi Lines Extension Cords (Images courtesy Connect Design)
By Andrew Liszewski

Here’s another one of those really simple ideas that vastly improves an existing product. These Multi Lines cables not only serve as extension cords bridging the gap between electrical appliances and just out of reach wall outlets, but as powerbars as well. But instead of having all of the outlets bunched up in a brick on one end, the additional sockets are distributed along the length of the cable. Now obviously it’s not the ideal solution if you needed to power a cabinet full of home theater gear, but if you could use a few extra outlets distributed around the bedroom, it sure beats having to tear apart the drywall. $16 to $22 ranging from 6.5ft to 16.4ft, available from Connect Design.

[ Multi Lines Extension Cords ] VIA [ Holycool.net ]

VogDUO’s Timer Equipped USB Charger Looks Like One Useful Wall Wart

VogDUO Green Wall Charger (Images courtesy VogDUO)
By Andrew Liszewski

Not only does this wall wart include 4 USB ports for charging multiple devices at the same time, but it also features a built-in timer allowing you to specify a 2, 4, 6 or 8 hour charging window. Once the timer runs out the charger draws no electricity at all, meaning it won’t passively run up your electric bill. It’s also got a set of folding prongs making it easier to travel with, and while it can juice up to 4 different devices at one time, if you plan to add an iPad into the mix you’ll need to use an included Y-adapter so it can draw power from 2 of the USB ports at once. While it doesn’t appear to be available for sale just yet, hopefully we’ll have a chance to check it out in person at CES 2011 next month and nail down a price point.

[ VogDUO Green Wall Charger ] VIA [ Chip Chick ]

Mobile Wind Turbine Concept Serves As An Eco-Friendly Emergency Generator

Mobile Wind Turbine Concept (Images courtesy Pope Design)
By Andrew Liszewski

While it’s nothing more than just a concept brought to life via some nifty 3D renders, I think there’s a lot of potential in this Mobile Wind Turbine that can be moved and deployed almost anywhere it can be driven. I’m not particularly inclined to go through the proposed ‘specs’ since because it’s a concept I’ve no idea if they’re even plausible. But in an ideal world the Mobile Wind Turbine could be driven and setup by a single operator, and would feature an on-board stash of batteries for storing power when it’s not windy enough for it to generate any of its own.

The vehicle itself would also be electrically powered keeping with the eco-friendly theme of the concept, though a backup gas generator on board would provide power to the electric motors ensuring it would never get stranded even when the batteries were depleted. And besides coming to the rescue in emergency situations, the Mobile Wind Turbine would also probably come in handy at music events, concerts, carnivals and maybe even the circus could bring one along. Though the cost of renting/operating the turbine would have to end up being a far better bargain than traditional fossil fuel burning mobile generators.

[ Pope Design - Mobile Wind Turbine ] VIA [ Ecofriend ]

Belkin Conserve Smart AV Power Strip

Belkin Conserve Smart AV Power Strip (Images courtesy Belkin)
By Andrew Liszewski

If you’re worried about your home theater components sucking phantom power when you’re not watching anything, Belkin’s Conserve Smart AV power strip will make sure they’re not wasting juice while your TV is off. You just need to ensure your set is plugged into the lime green socket which is smart enough to know when it’s on or off, and that any components you want powered down are plugged into the next five. However, you probably don’t want everything to get powered off with the TV, so the strip has two extra sockets that remain constantly on for devices like DVRs. Now looking at the… um… ‘action shot’ the Conserve Smart AV isn’t the slimmest power strip out there, but according to their site your $29.99 investment could actually end up saving you an estimated $76 per year.

[ Belkin Conserve Smart AV Power Strip ] VIA [ GadgetGrid ]

Every iPhone Case Maker Should Copy This Kensington PowerGuard Case’s Clever Trick

Kensington PowerGuard Battery Case with Card Stand (Images courtesy Kensington)
By Andrew Liszewski

I’m not advocating that a company should just go out and blatantly steal another company’s idea, but it happens, so you might as well swipe a good one. For the most part this Kensington PowerGuard is your run-of-the-mill battery pack case with a 1200 mAh lithium polymer battery good for about 4 more hours of talk time, 5 more hours of video playback and up to 22 more hours of music. It’s also got a microUSB charging and sync port which is nice, volume buttons allowing you to press through to the iPhone 4’s own set and an LED battery life indicator.

However, it’s the addition of nothing more than a thin slit on the back of the case that makes it most interesting. All you have to do is jam a credit card (or any sturdy card) in there and bam! you’ve got an instant stand that works in portrait or landscape orientations. The PowerGuard case has an MSRP of $59.99, but hopefully they’ll make a case-only version featuring their brilliant ‘Card Stand’ technology.

[ Kensington PowerGuard Battery Case with Card Stand ] VIA [ Gear Diary ]