Toss a USB wristband charger into your kid's stocking this holiday and one of two things will happen. Either he'll get pummeled at school for being the class dork, or he'll stand as a deity among his electronically charged classmates toting around handheld gaming systems, smartphones, media players, and all sorts of gadgets that trump anything we used to bring to school.
The wristband is made by Brando, a company Gizmodo once accurately dubbed Hong Kong's USB Willy Wonka. It comes with a 1,500mAh, 5.5V battery and includes LED charge indicators. And of course it includes the usual bevy of USB tips, including both Nokia types, mini USB, LG, Samsung, Sony/Ericsson, PSP, Nintendo DS Lite, and the DSi. When you're ready to recharge the charger, just plug it into your PC's USB port.
Pretty handy for a $35 gadget. Slap a clock or some kind of watch-face on that sucker and we'd be sold.
We place such a premium on USB ports because, let's face it, just about every digital gadget plugs into one these days, many of which are capable of recharging themselves through your PC. But instead of keeping track of both a USB cable and a power plug, why not just convert a spare in-wall outlet or two into a USB outlet? In the words of the Guinness brewmasters, "Brilliant!"
All this mod takes is about $10 and a half-hour of your time, with a little bit of courage and a whole lot of safety precautions highly recommended. The relatively simple mod involves taking a pair of cheap USB chargers easily obtainable for a few bucks on eBay and stripping off the extra casing. Mod the faceplate, wire it up, and you're good to go!
You can find more detailed instructions here, and when you're finished, hit up this link to see all of what you can plug into your new outlet, including a USB fridge.
Still getting up off the couch to plug your iPod and other mobile gadgets into an outlet so they can recharge? Pfft - real couch potatoes juice up their devices wirelessly, with the newest way to do so being Duracell's new myGrid charging pad.
If Duracell's myGrid looks oddly familiar, it's because WildCharge has a similar device on the market called the Wire-Free. Like the Wire-Free, the myGrid is stupid-easy to use. Just plug the pad into your wall and drop your power-hungry devices onto the pad, up to four at a time.
Duracell boasts compatibility with a number of mobile devices, including the iPod Touch, iPhone 3G, both the Blackberry Pearl and Curve, and several Motorola and Nokia devices.
Does your car have a USB port? Kick that nasty smoking habit and it just might. By freeing up your car's cigarette lighter, you can then shove Belkin's Micro Auto Charger into the socket and charge your BlackBerry, iPod, or other USB devices.
The Micro Auto Charger comes with a single 1-amp USB "quick-charge port for fastest possible charge" and sits nearly flush with the dashboard, Belkin says. For a little more jingle (and a lot less svelte), Belkin also offers the Dual Auto Charger, which tosses an extra 500mA USB port and USB-to-mini-USB cable into the mix.
You'll have to wait until next month for the Micro Auto Charger, which will sell for $15, or $20 if you want Belkin to include a iPode/iPhone cable. Those interested in the Dual Auto Charger can pick one up now for $30.
Ever wonder what happens when you take a Jensen #75 and connect it to a lego Technic motor using a rubber band? Neither have we, but thanks to YouTuber twdunbar, we now know, and it's pretty damn cool. Using the parts just mentioned, twdunbar fashioned together a Steampunk-inspired USB charger for his iPod, but it can also be used for other devices.
"The motor is being driven and so it acts like a generator, which feeds into a voltage regulator circuit to give a continuous 5V to the iPod (or any USB device)," twdunbar wrote on his YouTube video page.
Check out the video here, and if you're into the whole Steampunk thing, drop these links into your browser:
Gadget lovers have a device for everything. We often have 15 different ways to check the weather, 10 for email, and at least 5 with built in cameras. What we don’t have is an unlimited supply of USB ports, and we often struggle to keep our army of doohickey’s charged and ready to go. This can become an even bigger challenge when we’re on the road.
That's why we were so enthusiastic when we stumbled across the Super Travel A/C USB Wall Charger. This $25 adapter can power up to 5 devices at once with the 4 built in female ports, and sports an additional 5 pin male connector for smartphones. I just ordered one for myself, and devices like these remind us why we here at Maximum PC are such big fans of devices that charge via USB.
Sick and tired of trying to find the right charger for your cell phone? Whether you're shopping for a new charger or trying to figure out which of the chargers in your desk drawer matches your phone, the industry's current lack of standards could make you just a little bit crazy - especially when you're staring at a blinking battery level display and you're expecting a very important call.
Thankfully, there's good news - if you can wait a few years. Today, GSMA (the mobile phone trade association) announced an agreement between virtually all of the world's major cell phone makers to stop the insanity and adopt a common charging connector standard: Micro-USB. The announcement, appropriately enough, was made at the 2009 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, CNet's 3GSM World blog reports.
To find out who's teaming up, who's snubbing the new standard, and how soon you can expect to see the standard adopted, join us after the jump.
In what's sure to show up on several holiday geek gift guides, Ardica has come up with a gadget every traveling technophile will want to tote around, assuming those travels include chilly locales. Ardica describes it as "the world's first fully functional, lightweight, portable personal power and heating system," which is essentially a power pack meant to be worn.
Once suited up, a proprietary lithium-ion pack with 39-watt hours of stored energy provides up to 100F degrees of heat for 3 hours when set to high, or just shy of 9 hours on low. And if keeping your bosom toasty while stranded on a snow covered mountain weren't enough, the portable power source is also good for 11 cell phone charges to call all your loved ones for that final goodbye, 20 iPod charges for the longest loop of Taps ever, or power a GPS, PDA, or any other gadget you may have on hand before going into full McGyver mode and constructing a life saving teleportation device.
PC enthusiasts used to selecting the right combination of computer components will feel right at home, as you'll need to pick out an Ardica enabled garment to ensure compatibility, with Mountain Hardware, Sitka, Redwing, and a handful of others already on board. Ardica says garments made to be compatible will add $35 to $50 onto the retail price. The personal power component will sell separately through Ardica's website for $145.
It's not often that a technology comes along that significantly changes the way we do things, but we're on the verge of such a transition if Intel succeeds in its latest endeavor, and it has nothing to do with Nehalem. Instead, the chip maker has made progress in a technology that could pave the way for the wireless recharging of electronics.
Intel claims it has found a way to increase the efficiency of a technique for wirelessly powering consumer gadgets and computers, potentially allowing a person to place a device on a computer desk to power it. In short, the technology could do for powering gadgets what Wifi has done for internet access.
"Something like this technology could be embedded in tables and work surfaces, "said Justin Rattner, Intel's CTO, "so as soon as you put down an appropriately equipped device it would immediately begin drawing power.
The technology uses a magnetic field to broadcast up to 60 watts of power two to three feet, while only losing about 25 percent of the power in transmission. And while some start ups have also announced similar wireless charging technologies, those demonstrations have required that the consumer gadgets touch the charging station.