Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
In recent years, cycling has become less of a transportation choice and more of a passionate lifestyle, something people wear as a badge of honor and extoll like a religion. These cyclists already have all the reasons they need to choose a bike over any other mode of transport, and one new Kickstarter campaign is giving them another reason to choose pedal power.
As smartphones and other devices become more integrated into our daily lives, it has become important to keep them fully charged at all times. This is rarely a problem for those who drive instead of ride, but diehard cyclists have had to look for other power options. The idea of transforming a turning wheel into power isn´t new, but Aaron Latzke and David Delcourt have fine tuned this approach with the easy-to-install Siva Cycle Atom, a bicycle-powered generator for the modern city dweller.
Like other generators, the Atom uses a turning wheel to capture energy and hold it for later use. Unlike most others, however, it stores this energy in a removable and waterproof battery pack. As shown off in their Kickstarter video, cyclists ride to their local coffee shop, remove the Atom battery pack and charge their iPhones as they enjoy a morning cup of joe. The Atom can be plugged back into the generator afterwards and gather even more energy from the wheels.
Technically speaking, the Atom´s battery pack holds a 1300mAh battery — the company points out that this isn´t much smaller than the iPhone´s 1440mAh pack. The Atom generator not only delivers power when the battery pack is removed, however, it can also charge iPhones, GPS devices and nearly anything else with a USB port while on the go. Though power is delivered in a nice, steady manner — five volts at up to 500mA — the faster a cyclist pedals, the more energy is produced. At three miles per hour, the Atom delivers 0.75 watts. Ten miles per hour yields three watts, and the atom limits itself to 4.5 watts at 15 miles per hour.
In terms of real-world charging capabilities, the Kickstarter video claims the Atom can “get you from the red to the green in just a matter of minutes.” When removed, the battery pack can take an iPhone from dead flat to 70 percent in a single pass.
The Siva team wants the Atom to be used in more than just hip, urban, bicycle-friendly towns. The bicycle generator is, after all, a source of renewable energy, and there are many areas of the world where this kind of pocket power could come in handy.
“Power is a modern day necessity, and having juice for all of your devices is more than a convenience,” Delcourt told Digital Trends.
“Over 1.5 billion people are without regular, consistent access to power, and many of them rely on bicycles as their primary means of transportation. Bigger picture, we believe the Atom will fundamentally change cycling, as well as the lives of people all over the world.”
To help these millions of people, Siva is donating one Atom for every ten sold to areas where they´re needed. It´s a move they say is meant to demonstrate how responsible business practices can make a difference.
The Kickstarter campaign only went live a few days ago, but Delcourt and Latzke have already managed to raise over $54,000 of their $85,000 goal. In the short time since they started this campaign, Siva has been able to essentially sell 300 Atoms to early backers at $85 a piece, a promising sign for the gadget´s future. The duo says they hope to begin shipping these cycle-powered generators by the end of the year.