Kickstarter projects let you charge your iPhone with fire, snap pics in the dark with better flash

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
A pair of interesting new Kickstarter projects may allow for more versatile uses of Apple's iPhone, with a product for campers that provides electricity-generating campsite cookery, and a strap-on iPhone ring flash to improve low-light photos and video recordings.

PowerPot

The PowerPot X

The aptly-named PowerPot X aims to do exactly what it says on the label: provide electrical power from a pot. When paired with a camp stove, thermoelectric modules affixed to the bottom of the anodized aluminum kettle can provide up to 10 watts to the PowerPot's dual USB ports, which the pot's creators say is enough to charge a single iPad, two iPhones, or four GoPro cameras.

Power passes through a regulator before reaching the USB ports, ensuring that devices receive a constant and predictable flow of electricity. The regulator also features a built-in power meter that uses LEDs arranged in the familiar signal strength triangle to visualize exactly how much juice is flowing.

The second-generation portable power apparatus is designed to be lighter and more efficient than its predecessor, and comes in two sizes --?the 4-quart PowerPot XL and the 2.4-quart PowerPot X --?which both include a 36-inch charging cord to keep devices away from any flames.

Though innovative in its own right, the PowerPot is not alone in providing fire-driven power in remote settings. An earlier Kickstarted project, the FlameStower, generates just 3 watts of power but comes in a significantly lighter package.

There is no word on retail pricing, though the Kickstarter reward level that brings backers a PowerPot X is set at $165 and is set to ship by May 2014. At press time, the PowerPot X had raised $26,916 of its $30,000 goal from 158 backers with 41 days to go.

Lightstrap

Lightstrap

Apple's iPhone 5s, with its camera's redesigned lens system and new dual-LED True Tone flash, is a capable low-light shooter, though not all "low light" situations are created equal --?shooting nocturnal scenes in the Scottish Highlands is a bit different than foodspotting in a faintly-lit bistro.

Father-and-son team Ben and Cassidy Clawson have created the Lightstrap, a flash-equipped iPhone case which mimics a professional photographer's ring flash, that is designed to help Cupertino's handset take better low-light shots in a variety of conditions.

Lightstrap allows the photographer to select from seven brightness levels and six color temperatures, and the team says its flash is 10 times as bright as the built-in option on the iPhone 5s, 15 times that of the iPhone 5, and 30 times the brightness of the iPhone 5s's video-mode LED. A built-in 1000 mAh battery will power Lightstrap through more than 500 photos or 30 minutes of video and can be recharged over USB.

The 16-millimeter thick, 2.5-ounce accessory does not require a specialty camera app --?Lightstrap is triggered by the iPhone's built-in LED flash.

Lightstrap's creators hope to ship the device by April 2014 --?just in time for summer backpacking trips --?for a retail price of $97. As of this writing, $12,173 of Lightstrap's $245,000 goal had been raised from 128 backers with 28 days to go.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 5,005member
    Great Ideal consider I have been in the back woods and wish I could charge my GPS up or a phone. But usually when I am in the woods, using my phone is not the primary thing and is usually turned off the entire time.

    Based on what I read it requires the thermal difference between the flame and water to create power and I am assuming once the water start boiling you loose most of the power output. With that said, my stove boils a liter of water in under 3 minutes and that is not enough time to charge a device. In case of an emergency you could keep replacing the water and use up most of your fuel just to get your cell phone charge. I am not sure what the risk vs reward on this one is and whether it is really worth it.
  • Reply 2 of 29
    iaeeniaeen Posts: 588member
    maestro64 wrote: »
    Great Ideal consider I have been in the back woods and wish I could charge my GPS up or a phone. But usually when I am in the woods, using my phone is not the primary thing and is usually turned off the entire time.

    Based on what I read it requires the thermal difference between the flame and water to create power and I am assuming once the water start boiling you loose most of the power output. With that said, my stove boils a liter of water in under 3 minutes and that is not enough time to charge a device. In case of an emergency you could keep replacing the water and use up most of your fuel just to get your cell phone charge. I am not sure what the risk vs reward on this one is and whether it is really worth it.

    Even at boiling the water will be much cooler then the flame. You would only need to replace enough water to keep it from boiling dry.
  • Reply 3 of 29
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,175member

    Seems kinda worthless to me....The poster above just proved my point. 

  • Reply 4 of 29
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member

    Clones of the lightstrap idea are probably being made right now in China, ready for imminent release on eBay.

  • Reply 5 of 29
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by macxpress View Post

     

    Seems kinda worthless to me....The poster above just proved my point. 


     

    Agreed. The logical solution to the problem is a solar panel.

  • Reply 6 of 29
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by konqerror View Post

     

    Agreed. The logical solution to the problem is a solar panel.

     

    I think the BioLite camp stove is a much more innovative idea that already exists. You dodn't need any external fuel to carry and you don't need to have boiling water. The advantage to the stove/heat idea over solar is that you can charge your phone or device at night while cooking dinner on a hike. Solar limits charging efforts to sunlight hours.
  • Reply 7 of 29
    512ke512ke Posts: 782member

    REI already sells a portable camp stove that burns wood and charges your iDevice.

     

    http://www.rei.com/product/846334/

     

    Solar power is a great option.  Try Nomad's Goal Zero.  The ultralight one is really cool, and you can precharge the battery before you leave home.

     

    Another option is to buy lightweight batteries from Amazon.  Cheap and each holds 2 full charges.

     

    An even better option is to leave your iDevice at home... unless you need it for GPS navigation, activity tracking, photos, topo maps, compass, Candy Krush....

  • Reply 8 of 29
    I backed the original Power Pot V, the original Power Pot X (an addon in the first project) and the Power Meter. I had no idea they had another project going up but I just posted on twitter about the cable for my Power Pot melting because the electronics inside weren't trimmed correctly. My other cable is fine but has been used spare so it may do the same thing with more use... the screws on that cable are fairly stripped so I don't think I could get it open, or I could force t open and not be able to close it.

    I also posted a picture of the Power Meter showing that the case was built incorrectly so that the usb port is being pried off the board from the weight of the case.

    That's two kickstarters with two fire hazards due to poor construction and it's been almost 2 weeks with no response to my email.
  • Reply 9 of 29
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ndirishfan1975 View Post



    I think the BioLite camp stove is a much more innovative idea that already exists. You dodn't need any external fuel to carry and you don't need to have boiling water.

     

    Until you go above the timberline and there is no wood, or you go to an area where collecting wood is prohibited.

  • Reply 10 of 29
    Rather creative
  • Reply 11 of 29
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 5,005member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by 512ke View Post

     

    REI already sells a portable camp stove that burns wood and charges your iDevice.

     

    http://www.rei.com/product/846334/

     

    Solar power is a great option.  Try Nomad's Goal Zero.  The ultralight one is really cool, and you can precharge the battery before you leave home.

     

    Another option is to buy lightweight batteries from Amazon.  Cheap and each holds 2 full charges.

     

    An even better option is to leave your iDevice at home... unless you need it for GPS navigation, activity tracking, photos, topo maps, compass, Candy Krush....


     

    First I love this comment on REI's website from a self proclaimed Environmentalist

    Quote:


    Amazing invention. Anyone looking to reduce their carbon footprint will find a winner in the CampStove—a stove that uses wood instead of fuel and burns so quickly, fully and cleanly. It's definitely one of the more environmentally-friendly camping products out there right now.


     

    This show most people have not clue that the hell they are talking about, burning wood to cook on is far worse then the output from a camp stove. You can boil water in under 3 minutes, turn off the stove and poor the water into dehydrated food and you are eating 5 minutes later. Burning wood is going to take longer to boil water and create far more pollutants.

     

    To you other points, Solar chargers do not work well, I hiked  with people who tried to use them and they spent too much time fussing with it trying to keep the panel directed at the sun. The best idea, but it comes with a weight impact which is to have one of those external batter packs, I have one which is 7000mAH and it will charge the phone a number times over.To you other points, Solar chargers do not work well, I hiked 

     

    The other thing I find interest is people with GSP's in the woods, most people get the reading of where they are, and can not find that spot on the map. GPS only work if you know the coordinated of where you want to be, and most people can not pull those of a topo map to save themselves. A good map and compass will never fail you. I personally us my GPS to track where I have been so I can download the trace to plot on a computer.

     

    Most importantly just leave the idevices at home, enjoy being outside without a need to be connected of listing to music.

  • Reply 12 of 29
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 5,005member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by iaeen View Post





    Even at boiling the water will be much cooler then the flame. You would only need to replace enough water to keep it from boiling dry.

    I suspect you are correct, but I bet when the water is actually boiling, the power out put drops thus the reason for the power meter they have built in.  Think about it, it take almost 2.5 hours to charge up a dead iphone, so that is a lot of waster fuel. Grant it you may not need to fully charge it, but you most likely looking at 15 to 20 minutes of boiling time to get the phone to a state that makes it usable.

  • Reply 13 of 29
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member

    Far, FAR lighter to carry spare batteries or, a backup power pack like a Mophie. Way too much fuel consumption for that to ne practical in backpacking. Now in a  cabin where you're cooking with wood or off a big propane tank? Yeah that would be cute, but not when you'd need all that extra fuel just to avoid a little extra battery carry.

     


    • Maestro64- gps or compass if you can't read a map, you can't read a map, whether that map is accompanied by a compass ala "map and compass" or a gps with a mapping display. Oh and a gps will work at providing a solid location where a compass fails: at night (try and cross correlate a position off distant landmarks you can't see) or a snowstorm, low clouds, heavy forest cover etc.

  • Reply 14 of 29
    512ke512ke Posts: 782member

    Well I respectfully disagree with you about two points, Maestro64:

     

    1) The Goal Zero IS an effective charger.  Its solar battery takes about 8 hours to charge via the panel.  Yeah it takes several hours... but so what?    If you're on a multi day trek, you're just gathering free sunlight, with the thing hanging off the back of your pack via a caribiner clip.  Then you charge your iPhone at night via the battery.  It gives you about an 85% charge by the next morning.  On a multi day trek, that's awesome!

     

    2) GPS on the iPhone DOES absolutely work when you are in remote locations without cell service.  You need to be standing still in a clearing and wait about twenty minutes to triangulate from satellites.  Then you will get an accurate GPS reading. You won't have WIFI, so there won't be a map unless you download it ahead of time.   That's what I recommend -- load up your maps before you go, then use the iPhone for GPS location.

     

    Is it a pain to wait 20 minutes to find out precisely where you are?  Well, not really -- if you're lost! lol

     

    Regarding your FIRST point, whether it's wasteful/harmful to burn wood and recharge a phone, I haven't personally used the REI unit, so I don't know how MUCH wood you'd have to burn.  Certainly, if you break out your Jetboil and use a mix of iso propane/butane to boil 1 quarter of water in 60 seconds, that also has some kind of environment impact.  Which is worse, burning wood or burning iso bu/pro?  Idk!

     

    Bottom line:  You can DEFINITELY take your iPhone on multi day treks outside of cell and wifi signals.  You can use your iPhone in the wilderness to take pictures, find your location, navigate and a lot more!

  • Reply 15 of 29
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post

     

    First I love this comment on REI's website from a self proclaimed Environmentalist

     

    This show most people have not clue that the hell they are talking about, burning wood to cook on is far worse then the output from a camp stove. You can boil water in under 3 minutes, turn off the stove and poor the water into dehydrated food and you are eating 5 minutes later. Burning wood is going to take longer to boil water and create far more pollutants.


     

    From an engineer, they are correct. Wood is carbon neutral, petroleum fuels are not. So if your definition is carbon output, burning wood is far better.

     

    What environmentalists don't understand is that carbon and non-carbon (smog-forming, toxic) emissions are mutually exclusive. If you want to minimize carbon emissions you don't use a catalytic converter, because you are basically burning excess fuel where it can't be converted into useful energy. You make a lean-burn engine e.g. a diesel. Lean-burn engines use less fuel at the expense of NOx (acid rain, smog) emissions.

     

    Compare a Subaru Outback PZEV to a Toyota Prius C. The Prius gets about twice the fuel economy, so half the carbon emissions. However, the Prius C doesn't even meet CA PZEV standards, it's one bin worse than the Outback. If your criteria is acid rain and smog, the Prius emits around twice as much smog-forming pollution per gallon of fuel burned, and is still worse than the Subaru per mile. Since carbon dioxide is non-toxic, the Prius causes more cancer, asthma and health-related deaths per mile than the Subaru.

  • Reply 16 of 29
    512ke512ke Posts: 782member

    konqerror, excellent points regarding carbon emissions.

  • Reply 17 of 29
    maestro64 wrote: »
    Great Ideal consider I have been in the back woods and wish I could charge my GPS up or a phone. But usually when I am in the woods, using my phone is not the primary thing and is usually turned off the entire time.

    Based on what I read it requires the thermal difference between the flame and water to create power and I am assuming once the water start boiling you loose most of the power output. With that said, my stove boils a liter of water in under 3 minutes and that is not enough time to charge a device. In case of an emergency you could keep replacing the water and use up most of your fuel just to get your cell phone charge. I am not sure what the risk vs reward on this one is and whether it is really worth it.
    Sounds like a battery backup is more efficient

    konqerror wrote: »
    Agreed. The logical solution to the problem is a solar panel.
    Most defiantly, 0 emission
    <div class="quote-container" data-huddler-embed="/t/161067/kickstarter-projects-let-you-charge-your-iphone-with-fire-snap-pics-in-the-dark-with-better-flash#post_2443823" data-huddler-embed-placeholder="false"><span>Quote:</span><div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>konqerror</strong> <a href="/t/161067/kickstarter-projects-let-you-charge-your-iphone-with-fire-snap-pics-in-the-dark-with-better-flash#post_2443823"><img src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" class="inlineimg" alt="View Post"/></a><br/><br/><p> </p><p>Agreed. The logical solution to the problem is a solar panel.</p></div></div><p> </p>

    I think the BioLite camp stove is a much more innovative idea that already exists. You dodn't need any external fuel to carry and you don't need to have boiling water. The advantage to the stove/heat idea over solar is that you can charge your phone or device at night while cooking dinner on a hike. Solar limits charging efforts to sunlight hours.
    There are battery packs for that.
    I backed the original Power Pot V, the original Power Pot X (an addon in the first project) and the Power Meter. I had no idea they had another project going up but I just posted on twitter about the cable for my Power Pot melting because the electronics inside weren't trimmed correctly. My other cable is fine but has been used spare so it may do the same thing with more use... the screws on that cable are fairly stripped so I don't think I could get it open, or I could force t open and not be able to close it.

    I also posted a picture of the Power Meter showing that the case was built incorrectly so that the usb port is being pried off the board from the weight of the case.

    That's two kickstarters with two fire hazards due to poor construction and it's been almost 2 weeks with no response to my email.
    Well here is a unsuccessful review of another disadvantage to it.
    512ke wrote: »
    REI already sells a portable camp stove that burns wood and charges your iDevice.

    http://www.rei.com/product/846334/

    Solar power is a great option.  Try Nomad's Goal Zero.  The ultralight one is really cool, and you can precharge the battery before you leave home.

    Another option is to buy lightweight batteries from Amazon.  Cheap and each holds 2 full charges.

    An even better option is to leave your iDevice at home... unless you need it for GPS navigation, activity tracking, photos, topo maps, compass, Candy Krush....
    All good ideas.

    maestro64 wrote: »
    First I love this comment on REI's website from a self proclaimed Environmentalist

    This show most people have not clue that the hell they are talking about, burning wood to cook on is far worse then the output from a camp stove. You can boil water in under 3 minutes, turn off the stove and poor the water into dehydrated food and you are eating 5 minutes later. Burning wood is going to take longer to boil water and create far more pollutants.

    To you other points, Solar chargers do not work well, I hiked  with people who tried to use them and they spent too much time fussing with it trying to keep the panel directed at the sun. The best idea, but it comes with a weight impact which is to have one of those external batter packs, I have one which is 7000mAH and it will charge the phone a number times over.To you other points, Solar chargers do not work well, I hiked 

    The other thing I find interest is people with GSP's in the woods, most people get the reading of where they are, and can not find that spot on the map. GPS only work if you know the coordinated of where you want to be, and most people can not pull those of a topo map to save themselves. A good map and compass will never fail you. I personally us my GPS to track where I have been so I can download the trace to plot on a computer.

    Most importantly just leave the idevices at home, enjoy being outside without a need to be connected of listing to music.
    Water is better than wood,or a another liquid, but water still has limits.
    512ke wrote: »
    Well I respectfully disagree with you about two points, <a href="http://forums.appleinsider.com/u/18868/maestro64" id="user_poster_2443032" style="border-bottom-width:0px;border-left-width:0px;border-right-width:0px;border-top-width:0px;color:rgb(18,86,183);vertical-align:middle;" name="user_poster_2443032">Maestro64</a>
    :

    1) The Goal Zero IS an effective charger.  Its solar battery takes about 8 hours to charge via the panel.  Yeah it takes several hours... but so what?    If you're on a multi day trek, you're just gathering free sunlight, with the thing hanging off the back of your pack via a caribiner clip.  Then you charge your iPhone at night via the battery.  It gives you about an 85% charge by the next morning.  On a multi day trek, that's awesome!

    2) GPS on the iPhone DOES absolutely work when you are in remote locations without cell service.  You need to be standing still in a clearing and wait about twenty minutes to triangulate from satellites.  Then you will get an accurate GPS reading. You won't have WIFI, so there won't be a map unless you download it ahead of time.   That's what I recommend -- load up your maps before you go, then use the iPhone for GPS location.

    Is it a pain to wait 20 minutes to find out precisely where you are?  Well, not really -- if you're lost! lol

    Regarding your FIRST point, whether it's wasteful/harmful to burn wood and recharge a phone, I haven't personally used the REI unit, so I don't know how MUCH wood you'd have to burn.  Certainly, if you break out your Jetboil and use a mix of iso propane/butane to boil 1 quarter of water in 60 seconds, that also has some kind of environment impact.  Which is worse, burning wood or burning iso bu/pro?  Idk!

    Bottom line:  You can DEFINITELY take your iPhone on multi day treks outside of cell and wifi signals.  You can use your iPhone in the wilderness to take pictures, find your location, navigate and a lot more!
    The nomad 7 will charge your device directly with its 7 watts, paired with guide 10 or switch 8 it garentees 1 to 2 charges(about 1.7 on iPhone) with a charge taking 1.5 hours at best, 3 if sunny, 6-8 if cloudy. Providing you a charge or 2 just out in woods, plus guide 10 gives you 4 spare AA batteries for flashlight if phone does not need charge.

    This seems unsuccessful for these situations with any material like water, wood, with you literally toting a generator, having a slow charge, and wasting water(or carrying fuel around).
  • Reply 18 of 29
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,992member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post

     

     

    First I love this comment on REI's website from a self proclaimed Environmentalist

     

    This show most people have not clue that the hell they are talking about, burning wood to cook on is far worse then the output from a camp stove. You can boil water in under 3 minutes, turn off the stove and poor the water into dehydrated food and you are eating 5 minutes later. Burning wood is going to take longer to boil water and create far more pollutants.


     

    What's the difference between a little bit of dead wood being burnt now and then and that same piece of wood burning later with a lot more like it during a forest fire?

     

    It may be different in some countries but here in Australia the ecology revolves around cycles of bush fires, burning a couple of twigs makes a minimal impact although in summer especially in drought periods all fires are usually banned as they can spread and start other fires in our highly flammable forests.

  • Reply 19 of 29
    nhtnht Posts: 4,522member
    <div class="quote-container" data-huddler-embed="/t/161067/kickstarter-projects-let-you-charge-your-iphone-with-fire-snap-pics-in-the-dark-with-better-flash#post_2443823" data-huddler-embed-placeholder="false"><span>Quote:</span><div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>konqerror</strong> <a href="/t/161067/kickstarter-projects-let-you-charge-your-iphone-with-fire-snap-pics-in-the-dark-with-better-flash#post_2443823"><img src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" class="inlineimg" alt="View Post"/></a><br/><br/><p> </p><p>Agreed. The logical solution to the problem is a solar panel.</p></div></div><p> </p>

    I think the BioLite camp stove is a much more innovative idea that already exists. You dodn't need any external fuel to carry and you don't need to have boiling water. The advantage to the stove/heat idea over solar is that you can charge your phone or device at night while cooking dinner on a hike. Solar limits charging efforts to sunlight hours.

    I have the bioLite. There are several advantages and a couple drawbacks.

    I can fly with the bioLite. Can't with fuel.
    I have to pack in and out the fuel.
    I usually run out of fuel faster than I run out of sticks
    There is a battery built into the bioLite that it charges. The power coming out is clean
    The little fan really does make a decent little fire.

    The downside is that a normal camp stove is lighter and easier to deal with if you're just hiking for the weekend.
    I guess you can also be somewhere where there is no usable fuel for the bioLite.

    I really like their big model that they only intend for the third world. I'd buy one.
  • Reply 20 of 29
    nhtnht Posts: 4,522member
    The nomad 7 will charge your device directly with its 7 watts, paired with guide 10 or switch 8 it garentees 1 to 2 charges(about 1.7 on iPhone) with a charge taking 1.5 hours at best, 3 if sunny, 6-8 if cloudy. Providing you a charge or 2 just out in woods, plus guide 10 gives you 4 spare AA batteries for flashlight if phone does not need charge.

    This seems unsuccessful for these situations with any material like water, wood, with you literally toting a generator, having a slow charge, and wasting water(or carrying fuel around).

    I have a no-name solar unit that charges eneloops and a no-name brick that charges itself and has a little craptastic LED on it for light and a USB port.

    The bioLite is nice since you generally want to cook and for just yourself the little forced air stove works. The battery runs the fan and has enough to charge your phone a bit.

    Nothing is enough to let you run your phone very much as a gps on the trail.

    But for sandy the bioLite folks set up a buncha stoves to recharge phones and make tea for their neighbors. Win.
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