March 24, 2015

SPOR Solar Charger — Beyond the Specs

Eric Griffin

SPOR solar portable USB charger

The ability to harvest clean energy, environmental impact, and sustainability are the biggest topics of today’s world that need practical solutions. With hundreds of recently released options to solar charge your gadgets, a team of Drexel students/entrepreneurs came out with their own, called SPOR. After exceeding their Kickstarter campaign’s goals back in June 2014, they are now gearing up for production.

SPOR solar portable USB charger

Right out of the box, SPOR solar charger promises to come with a decent list of features. It can power up any gadget that has a USB port, and it will take roughly 17 hours to fully sun-charge the iPhone 6. To charge SPOR’s own battery, it will take about 50 hours of sun, but once it’s done it will afford you three full iPhone charges. For time-sensitive situations, you can plug it into a normal outlet and be back on the road within a couple of hours. Amongst other cool features: you can wrap the snake-like cable around your bicycle wheel without the fear of it ever falling off; you can use the cable as a hook by plugging both ends into SPOR itself (it has two USB ports); you can show off your personality with various color options available; you can make SPOR charge a SPOR, which is charging a SPOR… And just like you might forget to unplug the power cord from the wall outlet (which also consumes energy), you can safely forget SPOR in the sun and never worry about running out of energy ever again, and also feel good about it. In terms of the size, it hits the sweet-spot compared to other chargers I’ve seen and also looks sturdy. For those looking for simplicity and practicality, this might be just what you are looking for.

But most importantly, beyond the specs and cool looks, SPOR comes from the roots of the Maker Movement. Somehow, by buying off-the-shelf products, we lose the understanding of how things are made, the ability to DIY, and all the fun that only making can provide. With increasingly smarter devices and more intelligent platforms, it’s easy to stop asking questions and become more dependent on technology, and potentially get misinformed in the process. The team behind Spor is eager to change that, by gradually putting their experiments on Thingiverse for others to tinker and improve upon (). Luckily, with easy access to hi-tech tools such as 3D printing and to online resources, the possibilities are endless.

SPOR solar portable USB charger

Those quirky imperfections of lower grade 3D printing are what makes it the most appealing shell to me. (As a full disclosure, I saw the guys working on it at the Philly makerspace, NextFab, and have been drooling over it ever since). Aside from charging various gadgets, getting SPOR will surely power up your dreams in all sorts of hiking, exploring, adventuring, and more — the things you always wanted to do (I can picture it fitting nicely on a backpack amongst other cool badges and pins). Maybe it’s time to finally put your soldering goggles on and start experimenting, and slowly, get your power cords off the wall and your mind onto the road and into the wild… Sounds great, right?

SPOR solar portable USB charger

A ready to go model can be purchased directly on SPOR’s website. Oh yes, it will arrive in the environmentally friendly mushroom packaging too, no less. You got the picture.


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