First hydropower plant that fits a backpack meets crowd-funding goal

First came the portable solar charger, now the first hydroelectric plant has arrived in your backpack. — AFP pic
First came the portable solar charger, now the first hydroelectric plant has arrived in your backpack. — AFP pic

SAN FRANCISCO, April 12 — All you need is a body of flowing water to juice up Blue Freedom, thought to be the first personal, portable hydropower plant.

Just 20 centimetres long and weighing 400 grammes, the device is small enough to fit in a knapsack and is capable of charging cameras, mp3 players, razors, navigation devices, LED lamps, camping fridges, and — of course — smartphones, tablets and more.

Even if your lifestyle isn't rustic enough to bring you to a babbling brook very often, all it takes is one hour in moving water to give it 10 hours of power for a smartphone.

Equipped with a speed charging port, it claims to transmit fast energy to your gadgets and it comes with its own rechargeable battery pack that makes it fully usable when there's no stream nearby.

To charge Blue Freedom in the water, you simply remove the inner hydrodynamic turbine, attach it to the string on the integrated power plant, cast it off and watch it spin.

With more than 20 days still to go in its Kickstarter campaign, Blue Freedom has eked past its goal of US$100,000 (RM366,439) thanks to over 500 backers.

At press time, the item is mostly sold out at deep-discount prices although you can still preorder one for US$219.

Blue Freedom ships anywhere in the world and delivery is estimated in October 2015.

The product will retail for US$319.

Other portable electronics charging devices are primarily solar at this time.

Live Work Play recently released a dust-proof, shockproof, water-resistant, eco-friendly solar charger, allowing wilderness lovers to stay connected on their great escapes.

Called the Pulse (US$69.99), it's engineered for solar charging, and yet it's also possible to charge it by plugging it into the wall just like Blue Freedom.

Inside, there's a 5,000mAh battery, which, according to the company, is enough to power an iPhone 5 three times over when it's fully charged.

Goal Zero recently came out with its Switch 10 Multi-Tool Kit (US$119.95), of which the seven-watt solar panel weighs just four ounces.

It comes with a USB charging cable that's compatible with a variety of products, as well as a flashlight and a fan.

Those looking to cut charging time will appreciate the offerings of Bushnell, which include larger multi-panel chargers that fold into portable sizes like the Solar Book 850 (US$356.95). — AFP-Relaxnews