Before The Backers: three charging solutions for sun, sea and wear

Before the Backers highlights up-and-coming products that haven’t yet made their crowdfunding debut.



Poseidon Portable Charger

The search for the perfect charging solution for the many smart devices that shamelessly die each and every day is one that never ends. Every product promises peace of mind, but turn out to do anything but.

The Poseidon charger is an attempt at a charging solution that provides a week’s worth of power in an extremely compact, waterproof, drop resistant form. It may be diminutive, but its ruggedness makes it a hardy companion for any USB-chargeable device whether on the job in the city or outdoors taking in the fresh air, especially considering the Poseidon charger can hold its own charge for up to a year. Dual USB ports allows multiple devices to connect as well, recharging most of them at least two times.

The Poseidon charger is available to pre-order now for $89.00.



Buckle Charger

The most common portable charging solutions now available also feature clunky form factors and snaking wires that end up making the charging a device on the go more of a hassle than it needs to be. Thankfully, the Buckle Charger takes a rarely considered part of most people’s attire — the belt buckle — and transforms it into the charger savior we all need.


Thermoneystat lets homeowners budget their energy usage, regulates temperature and cost

Utility bills are an inevitable part of life. It’s hard to keep track of how much money is spent on them and no one truly knows the cost of what they’re using until they receive the bill. Of course, by then it’s too late to do anything about it.

patent-claimed Thermoneystat is a thermostat that works in reverse. It lets the user set how much money they’d like to spend on heating and cooling for that month. In turn, the thermostat does its best to provide the most comfortable temperature at the best price. To do this, the system uses current energy prices, weather forecasts, and weather history to plan for the month. It also lets the user input their own scheduling preferences for maximum comfort.

All told, Thermoneystat provides an innovative way for homeowners to cut down on their energy costs, despite its cringeworthy name. To receive one unit, backers must donate $250, but it’s important to keep in mind that furnishing an entire house might require a few more. Estimated delivery is currently set for September 2015, provide the product can meet its $100,000 goal on Kickstarter by March 31, 2015.


Sun Petal shading system keeps the sun out of the house, lowers A/C bills

In the summertime, the only way to stay cool is with the A/C. However, energy costs run high and, sometimes, the A/C has be switched off in order to save money. Some rooms just can’t keep cool without central air because they get too much sunlight.

Sun Petal is a modular shading system that aims to combat this. This shading system can be mounted over a number of different-sized windows. Its lattice design keeps direct sunlight out of the house. This way, those rooms that get sun all day will remain cool. The shade itself is white and attaches to the side of the house. It’s designed to withstand high winds. In addition, Sun Petal can be left up all year round because its design allows rain and snow to pass through.

The campaign claims that installation is easy. However, it doesn’t really go into detail about what’s involved in that process. The campaign also shows photos of Sun Petal at work, but each features a house with traditional siding. Is Sun Petal compatible with stucco or brick houses? A question the campaign may like to address.

Despite the confusion about installation, this product is certainly a neat one. Many awnings that exist now really can’t be used during inclement weather. While Sun Petal can’t be retracted, a definite drawback, it still has many uses as there’s always one room in the house that simply gets too much sun. For their very own, backers must donate $199 for an estimated delivery month of July 2015. Sun Petal is hoping to raise a ridiculous $750,000 on Kickstarter.

Cell Phone Accessories Health and Wellness

Vitastiq smartphone pen measures vitamin, mineral levels

Keeping our minds and bodies in check in our modern times of lazy food ordering and Uber rides is a pickle. Wearables have made it so most can have access to their basic physical vitals, but when it comes the levels of other harder to measures traits, people are out of luck unless they head to a doctor and pay the associated fees with the visit.

Among other techniques, doctors currently use expensive EAV, or electroacupuncture according to Voll devices, to check up on the body. The Vitastiq is looking to make the action of checking a person’s vitamin and mineral levels a routine one by using an iOS or Android smartphone as the brains behind an attachable, stainless steel pen.

Connected to a smartphone, the pen can gather information from specific acupuncture parts on the body whose electrical levels can be analyzed to let users know where they are with the vitamin and mineral levels. This gives them clear guidance as to how to act on it, and keeps bodies healthier in the long run. The device can be had for $99 and is expected to ship in March 2015 provided it reaches its $49,000 campaign goal.

Vitastiq can be a promising device, but that depends how much the users confide in the alternative realm of acupuncture and energy medicine. Studies show that EAV devices do exhibit effectiveness in analyzing vitamin and mineral levels, but for some that just might not be enough to sway them.


Baseload Buster uses PV panels to lower electric bills

Who doesn’t want to reduce their electric bills? But shifting one’s house entirely over to a solar panel energy system from a fossil fuel-based energy system can be costly.

The Baseload Buster from Amsterdam company Sun Invention offers a third solution that uses photovoltaics (PV) to convert solar energy into direct current electricity. The system includes four solar PV panels of 250 watts each that collect sun during the day to create a maximum of 1,000 watts of pure energy during daytime harvesting. Excess energy is then stored in Lithium batteries to deliver energy during the night or during especially cloudy weather. The PV panels run with an extra cell optimizer to avoid large losses during energy production.

Users can adjust the storage setting on their own based on factors including the region it is being used in, what season it is, and personal consumption level. Sun Invention is looking to raise €20,000 (~$24,200). Backers who spend €2,950 (~$3,600) will get the four panels including a new solar cell optimizer, and a 20-meter connection cable that connects the Baseload Buster connection box to the user’s existing home grid energy system. Country-specific AC connectors are ready to order also and versions for both 50 Hz and 60 Hz grids can be offered by the company.

The system sounds promising. But while the Baseload Buster is clearly less expensive than switching over entirely to a solar energy system, it is still too costly to attract mass consumer adoption. It is also hard to gauge just how much savings the user can expect to see each month.

Chargers/Batteries Tech Accessories

Hydrobee charger uses wind, rain, and muscle to juice up your devices

The demand for battery power on tablets and smartphones is simply never met. We use these devices day in and day out, taking advantage of all the cool apps and capabilities they have to offer. However, most find that their device only lasts half the day and dies at the worst moments.

Hydrobee never wants any smartphone to die ever again. This mini power plant harnesses solar, wind, hydro and mechanical energy to power any USB compatible device. Charge it up with a bike ride, day out in the sun or running water. Then, when the time comes, unplug and set off for the day. Hydrate will be there to charge your device with its stored energy.

We’ve seen all kinds of these devices on Backerjack. Batteries that charge from wind or sun, but it’s rare to see a product that takes almost any kind of energy it can get. Hydrobee’s versatility is what truly sets it apart from other products. Interested backers can grab their own $145 by May 2015. Hydrobee is looking to raise $32,000 on Kickstarter.

Chargers/Batteries Sports

Chargeboard is a rolling generator for a skater

Say what?! A skateboard that charges stuff? Yup. Chargeboard rolls around, generating its own power, and uses that energy to charge your devices. It delivers 5 Volt power to your iPhone by way of a convenient dock with enough juice to charge the phone up to eight times. Not only does it charge the phone while you’re just chilling, man, but it also lets you play music with an audio jack through Chargeboard’s speakers. An additional external USB port is compatible with lots of other devices as well, we’re talking to you Android. The skateboard itself is a sleek-looking wooden longboard. One will cost backers €380 or €360 if they’re early enough. This cool product from the Netherlands is hoping to raise €50,000 on Kickstarter. While Chargeboard is only really relevant to people who enjoy boarding, it’s still a cool product. Yes, it can play music and all that jazz, but it’s also an example of how easy it is to use renewable energy to power simple things. All in all, a fun product for boarders and a great example of sustainability in action.


Hot-Tubes help reduce heating costs by recirculating the heat

Hot TubesJust in time for the cold winter months comes an idea for intercepting the tracks of the iceman who cometh to steal the warmth out of humble homes. Okay, maybe that’s a bit dramatic. However, Hot Tubes seems to have a seriously good idea for helping people save on heating costs. The tubular fan system works to bring heat that collects near the ceiling down to living space level so that, take note gentlemen, there can finally be a little peace in connection to the battle of the thermostat. And much to most ladies’ delight, no tools are required for instillation. Backers get one 11” tube for $35, with an expected delivery of December 2014.

Chargers/Batteries Tech Accessories

Drill Turbine knocks the wind into your device

Drill TurbineRenewable forms of energy are slowing making their way into the mainstream. Drill Turbine is a wind turbine with a drill shape that allows you to charge your device by harnessing the power of the wind. With winds at 25mph, the turbine can put out 10 watts of power. The campaign video shows the Canadian Drill Turbine charging a phone while spinning around during a bike ride, an interesting and convenient way to create power while on-the-go. One mini turbine will cost backers $60 CAD. Drill Turbine hopes to raise $36,000CAD in a month-long Kickstarter campaign.


SunJack panels fold out to soak in a lot of solar energy

SunJackThey always say that it’s not good to leave your devices out in the sun. Now, it’s actually good for them! SunJack harnesses solar power to charge your iPhone or iPad. This black case comes in two wattages, 14 and 20, to charge several devices at once with only a few hours of sun. The SunJack isn’t the first crowdfunded product to harness our favorite star to charge out gadgets, but is definitely among the most powerful of these to date. The 14W version costs $100 and the 20W costs $200. SunJack has a $33,000 goal in a 33-day Kickstarter campaign.