Crowdfunding Picks: Power Electronics with Additional Battery or the Sun

By Linzy Novotny

With as much as a person uses their smartphone and tablet, the devices can run out of battery life fairly quickly. To sort out this dilemma, two Kickstarter projects launched to help the person who is in need of an outlet without having one available.

Kudos to You: A Family of Solar-Charging Products for the iPhone 5 and Select Tablets

Designer and inventor David Foster of Orlando, Fla., has looked outside the box to bring us the Kudo range of solar products to provide additional power to the iPhone 5, iPad 4 and Mini; and the Nexus 7 tablet.

Nvate Crowdfunding Kickstarter Project Kudo by David Foster and Power Bank by Anthony Vilgiate

This is an iPhone 5 that is nestled in the Cage. The Glide is the pouch that the Cage slides into.

Kudo includes the Cage, Glide, Bank and Sol. The Cage and Bank are protective covers and the Glide and Sol house the solar power components. The iPhone 5 slides into the Cage and the Cage fits into the Glide.

“The KudoGlide more than doubles the use of your iPhone 5 battery,” as stated on Kickstarter. “It does this while keeping your iPhone 5 ultra slim and trim the way Apple intended.”

The Glide, with its innovative design, has a removable belt clip, charging cable and sync capability. A USB cable is easily accessible and plugs into a laptop or any USB port, according to Kickstarter.

The iPad Mini and 4, as well as the Nexus 7, fit into the Bank and the Sol. The Bank and Sol are tablet covers that have a built-in stand with two positions. The difference is that the Sol has the solar panel and backup battery and the Bank does not. Like the Glide, the Bank and Sol have sync capability. The Glide can also plug into the Sol so that the phone is charging off of the tablet, which is charging off of the sun.

“The KudoSol uses proprietary technology to monitor the I-V curve, a technique called Maximum Power Point Tracking, or MPPT,” according to Kickstarter. “This delivers the maximum amount of power possible from the KudoSol solar panel to the tablet or phone. Even on a cloudy day, it’s still generating power in your hands.”

Nvate Crowdfunding Kickstarter Project Kudo by David Foster and Power Bank by Anthony Vilgiate

The Sol’s solar panel charges the tablet that is inside the protective case. The Bank has the same features as the Sol, minus the solar panel.

One minute of sun exposure translates to 40 seconds of power for the iPad Mini and Nexus 7; and 30 seconds of power for the iPad 4 with retina display, according to Kickstarter.

Backers will receive a Cage and Glide after pledging $65, which has an anticipated retail value of $79.95. After pledging $75, backers will receive the Bank, which has an expected retail value of $109.95. For $95, backers will receive the Sol, which is expected to retail for $129.95. The expected ship date for these items is May 2013.

The Kudo Kickstarter project will be fully funded on April 22, if at least $50,000 is pledged. To pledge, visit the project’s Kickstarter page.

Power USB Devices while On the Go without a Power Outlet

Tentatively-titled the Power Bank, Anthony Vilgiate of Colorado Springs, Colo., has developed a range of batteries to recharge USB devices while the user is on the go.

“I am your typical 200 nights a year business traveler and I often found myself fighting for outlet space at airport terminals to keep a charge in my iPhone and iPad,” Vilgiate said on Kickstarter, “or worse, running out of juice while on an important conference call.”

“I had tried all the battery case add-ons and even a few of those $100 remote batteries, and was always left disappointed,” Vilgiate continued.

The Power Bank comes in three models—Adventurer, Destination and Expedition.

Nvate Crowdfunding Kickstarter Project Kudo by David Foster and Power Bank by Anthony Vilgiate

This is the full range of Power Bank products—Adventurer, Destination and Expedition.

From full-power, the Adventurer battery can charge an iPad from 20 percent power to 100 percent power off of one charge or an iPhone, or similar smartphone, can be charged three to four times from no charge to 100 percent charged, Vilgiate stated on Kickstarter.

The Adventurer can be fully charged from a USB cable in six to eight hours, according to Kickstarter, and is the smallest capacity battery in the Power Bank series.

The Destination battery, is larger than the Adventurer, and “has enough juice to recharge an iPad from zero to full about 1.5 times,” according to Kickstarter, “or your iPhone, or similar mobile phone, six to eight times from zero to full.”

The Destination battery will be fully recharged after six to seven hours, according to Kickstarter.

The largest capacity battery in the Power Bank line is the Expedition. This lithium-ion battery can charge an iPad 1.5 times and an iPhone two times on a single charge. If solely powering an iPhone, or similar smartphone, the phone can be charged from zero to full power 10 times.

This battery will charge in four to six hours, as stated on Kickstarter.

The Power Bank batteries can charge while other USB devices are plugged into the battery, according to Kickstarter, and each battery comes with a universal adaptor that is able to fit various electronics.

Having raised a little over $96,000, with a goal of $25,000, Vilgiate’s project will be fully funded on March 8. Backers have until then to get a Power Bank battery of their own as part of the Kickstarter campaign.

Pledge $30 for an Adventurer battery, $50 for an Expedition or $65 for the Destination. Estimated delivery is May 2013.

To pledge, visit the project’s Kickstarter page.

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