Lately I have been thinking of methods of intelligently power up mobile devices through additional mobile power sources by using all currently available technologies and design solutions on the market. With wireless charging finally becoming a mass market reality through WildCharge, I am both excited and in the same time disappointed how little of the potential is actually covered by WildCharge. I decided to write down a quick list of features of a prototype product I’ve come up as the PowerPebble
- Power Pebble is a modular mobile power source. It uses a LEGO brick design where each Pebble starter kit contains one middle rectangular block, called Power Block, with charging magnets on both it’s long sides, interconnecting plugs on it’s internal long sides, and tiny LED indicators on its shorter sides. Each Power Block contains multi-cell battery unit. The user can connect unlimited number of Power Blocks together as LEGO bricks using the interconnecting plugs. Two “caps” close the Power Block from both sides providing sleek rounded design. Each “cap” is a module with specific internal functionality, powered by the Power Block they are connected to. There can be numerous caps, with a limit of 2 caps used at a time.
- Power Pebble is meant as a universal kit for building both mobile and desktop charging stands. One or two Power Blocks with Caps can be put in a laptop or messenger bag next to a device with WildCharge-compatible device and charge them while being carried in a bag. Multiple Power Blocks can align together to create travel-minded charging mega-device as a charging stand.
- Feature-wise, the powered caps that complete the Power Pebble design feature modern mobile technologies that allow the user to assign up to two features (or packs of features) to the device from a list of multiple available features that are gradually expanded with introduction of new caps or upgrades of existing caps. Each cap itself is a mini-device with a programmable firmware. Each Alarm Cap offers a MiniUSB plug for cable charging off the grid, so the device can be charged from either side. The following cap feature packs I’ve come up so far:
- Alarm cap. The default cap contains a clock with LED screen and alarm functionality and a buzzer. It can buzz user-defined alarms, create charge alarms based on Power Blocks remaining capacity, turn on or off charging alarms depending whether the Power Blocks are below or above certain capacity (do not ring in 21:00 for charging if Charging > 60%). Snap-out Wall Charge allows Pebble to be charged from a wall charger. The pebble will hang vertically while the charger is stuck in the grid horizontally.
- Connectivity Cap. Based on an ARM8 processor, this cap is a Android-OS-based screenless mobile device with Bluetooth, WiFi b/g and 3G functionality. GPS is available. Android Cap runs a WiFi server, optional 3G-to-WiFi MiFi and a Web server allowing other screen-based devices to connect to it and configure it. The following software-based tasks are pre-packaged.
** Twitter, Facebook Publish or Facebook Mail (when API available) self. GoogleTalk/XMPP Push. RSS hosted locally or proxied via online service (FeedBurner with PubSubhubbub support). Email. Create alarms in Google Calendar for charging via iCal Calendar.
** Messaging can tell devices that PowerPebble has capacity to serve them thus devices should specifically ask the user to use the Pebble. Devices with GPS can compare their own GPS data with PowerPebble GPS data and if close, could tell the user that the closest PowerPebble is in close distance. Devices can subscribe to multiple PowerPebble feeds/accounts/etc. and triangulate closest Pebble.
** Google Latitude, Fire Eagle GPS support. GPS Log support for cross-tagging media from cameras, online travel tagging services. GPS-defined Locales that trigger on or off Alarm Cap functions. For example, be alarmed of low capacity only when you return home.
** Voice Alarms via Bluetooth-connected headset. Support for headsets capable of connecting with multiple devices.
- PowerBag is a line of laptop and messenger bags that contain integrated wireless charger in its design. One of its compartments is meant for placing 4-cell or 6-cell PowerPebble. The whole interior of a PowerBag is lined up with multiple magnets (both compartment sides and compartment bittom) allowing any device placed inside to snap attached and charged if needed by just being carried in a PowerBag. PowerBag has handy MiniUSB connector that allows to “plug” the PowerBag to the grid and thus charge both the residing PowerPebble but also any device inside the bag. Power Bag also has wireless charger magnets on it’s exterior bottom, for placing over PowerPebble stands instead of wired charging via miniUSB
- Solar Carrying Bag. Carrying Bag for PowerPebble of up to 8 Power Blocks, using velcro connections to stay together as a bag, but can be expanded to a canvas 32 Copper Indium Gallium diSelenide solar panels, with a miniUSB charger for connecting to PowerPebble via any of its Caps. PowerBog can have models with solar panels attached to it.