No matter how diligent you are at charging your smartphone before leaving the house, there is always some point where you find that your battery is on its last legs – and it’s usually when you need to make an important call. The Voltmaker is a ratchet-inspired kinetic charger that lets you power up your phone with a simple flick of the wrist. The prototype charger of an aluminum tube that houses a 2000 mAh Li-ion battery – a few minutes of vigorous motion creates enough juice for a brief phone call, or to switch on an integrated LED light.
The Voltmaker’s body holds a spring-loaded mechanism at the top of the tube which generates energy as it spins. It is possible to fully charge the Voltmaker through kinetic energy alone, although it would require 2 to 3 hours of manic jazz hand action. The developers recommend using the device as a backup rechargeable power source.
Now in its first iteration, the Voltmaker is 6.1 inches long and 1.6 inches in diameter, but the makers hope to slim down the profile to 1.4 inches in diameter while reducing its weight from 10.6 ounces to 8.8 ounces. They also are working towards exchanging the internal lithium-ion battery to a lithium polymer equivalent. Different devices can be powered thanks to an internal micro-controller and it also has the ability to be recognized by smartphone applications and laptops. The Voltmaker can potentially be used as a game controller as well as a flashlight and a backup battery. The body of the Voltmaker is sealed against dirt and moisture, so it’s also great for outdoor use.
Voltmaker just launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise $200,000 for further development and production. With a little over a week to go, the next 100 units are priced at $49 and expected to ship in October if their goal is met. The Voltmaker’s inventors are considering releasing its code under a GPL and GNU license in order to expand its applications, and they might add a selection of plug-in attachments including a strobe light, a fan, and a radio.