A portable, solar-powered charging device that can store energy from natural or artificial light is on its way to a dead cell phone near you.
Since winning the Baiada Institute’s incubator competition at Drexel University and Philadelphia’s third annual Lean Startup Machine challenge, Drexel senior David Hunt and recent alumnus Jason Browne, co-founders of Spor, have spent the last year perfecting a prototype of a portable solar-powered charging device unlike any other.
The Spor charger — which features a customizable shell that is made using a 3D printer — does more than give mobile devices power. It makes clean energy more accessible and affordable for the world. Spor chargers aren’t just solar chargeable; they can also soak up power from indoor lighting, USB ports and electrical outlets.
What sets them a part from other solar-powered charging devices is not only the fact that they can be customized, but also that they can connect to each other to increase capacity or transfer energy from one Spor to another in what is called “daisy chaining.” They can be used to charge any device that has a USB port, including smartphones, tablets and GPS devices.
“Our greatest mentor, as esoteric as this might sound, has been nature,” said Hunt. “And more specifically, water. Our product is simple, it is highly durable and adaptable under environmental situations and gives life to products and even to other Spors.”
After hundreds of iterations, prototypes, and phases of market testing, Spor is ready for the next step: launch. In an effort to raise $100,000, Spor will launch a 30-day Kickstarter initiative on May 27.
“Spor is the next big thing in small scale power,” said Browne. “Most would see it as a convenient solar battery charger for their mobile devices, but it’s essentially portable, self-regenerating electricity. We aim to make solar energy simple, portable and most importantly affordable.”
Two days after their debut on Kickstarter, they’ll be pitching to the next round of potential investors.
“In June, we expect to work with HAXLR8R a business accelerator, if we get accepted, which will land us in China to secure suppliers and then the Bay Area to develop our business,” Hunt said. “After that, full scale launch!”
Update June 27: Hunt and Browne met their goal a few days early. On June 27, funding surpassed $101,000. Looks like the Spor charger is well on its way to a device near you.