When this Ecosol Powerstick was announced as a CES 2007 Innovation Award winner I thought it was some kind of solar charging stick. It turns out that this USB doohickey draws on old-fashioned electricity—in version 1.0 at least—and then charges your portable devices on the go. What makes it worthy of an Innovation award? Here's what I found out...
You plug the Powerstick into a USB port to charge it up. It takes 90 minutes to top off. No word on how long it will hold that charge once you dump it into your backpack or pocket, but it's got enough juice to fully charge a Blackberry. The handy LCD readout on the side tells you just how much "gas" the Powerstick is holding. When one of your portable devices runs out of energy, you connect it to the Powerstick—it has a universal adapter on one end, and will come with a variety of connectors for phones and MP3 players. Once you've docked it with your device, you press the start button and your gadget starts drawing power just as if you'd plugged it into a wall socket. This certainly has advantages over the AA cellphone Turbo Charger I'm seeing sold at every drug store nowadays.
But this is only version 1.0 of the Powerstick. The Canadian company that makes the device, Ecosol, says that the "next step is to develop a self-maintaining energy storage unit incorporating photovoltaic systems."
From what I can tell, Ecosol provides a whole bunch of solar technology to Cuba right now (Different company says founder and CEO Andrew Kular!). So this is definitely a company to keep your eye on.