Why you should care
Because never running out of cell phone power is nirvana for anyone on the go.
Everyone knows the lost, desperate feeling of not being able to find an outlet to plug in and recharge a cell phone. If the green-tech company K-TOR has anything to say about it, no one will ever suffer that feeling again. The Power Box is a device that allows you to pedal a mobile phone or tablet back to full power — all while getting a workout. K-TOR calls it “a small stationary exercise bike with a dual purpose.”
To use the Power Box, plug your phone’s charger into the outlet on the front. Then, the rest is on you: Once it’s connected, start pedaling. How fast you pedal determines how much power gets transferred to the plugged-in device. It’s possible — if you work it — to recharge up to three gadgets at the same time. According to Ken Torino at K-TOR, it will take roughly between 60 and 90 minutes to bring an iPhone from flat-dead to a full charge. If your legs get too tired, there’s an option of converting the foot pedals to a hand-crankable version. But unless you’ve got the arms of an arm-wrestling robot, there’s no way you’re going to crank enough power in one sitting.
Before getting any bright ideas, know that hooking a flat-screen TV or a blender up to the Power Box isn’t going to work. Appliances that require that much power are beyond the device’s capabilities. If you’re hell-bent on pedal powering something other than a typical cell phone, camera, tablet, etc., you’ll need an adapter. Laptops aren’t supported either, but K-TOR says that the Power Box can recharge a portable backup battery that is compatible with your laptop.
The Power Box is available now for $195 at the company’s site. Now compare that to an exercise bike that will run you twice as much and sucks power instead of providing it. There’s also a version called the Pocket Socket that operates by hand only, for $65. Either one will give you a fun way to burn calories when you’re not burning through phone minutes.