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Pedal power meets portable charging: introducing the PowerPac

An invention that stores human-generated energy generated during cycling for later use, for charging or providing power to household and personal electronic devices has won the Red Dot ‘Best of the Best 2012’ Design Award.

Established in 1955, the Singapore-based Red Dot awards recognises world-class design achievements and is one of theworld’s most sought-after international seals of design quality.

While human power generation and storage is not new, the invention, called the PowerPac is the world’s first product to offer a removable power storage unit that becomes a portable charging unit for use anywhere in the home or office.

Powerpac

The PowerPac is a product of South African product design consultancy, Ideso.

“Our aim was to create an aesthetically pleasing, user-friendly and functional design that marries the fluidity of cycling with dynamic power generation,” says Ideso MD, Marc Ruwiel. “It can be used by avid cyclists who can reduce CO2 emissions and generate their own electrical power, while enjoying a good workout at home.”

He points out that an average cyclist could fully charge the battery from empty with 80 minutes of cycling and 132Wh of charge/potential energy can be stored in the battery which, for example, can be used to fully charge or power an iPhone, a power tool, a PC, a tablet and a camera, all from this stored personal energy.

The PowerPac features two housings to contain the required components. The larger housing is split into a front and a back cover that contains the permanent magnet DC generator and the charge controller. The smaller battery housing is split into a top and a base cover and contains the 12V battery with a capacity of 11Ah, a DC to AC inverter and various energy output options: 220V AC (conventional plug), 12 DC (cigarette lighter) and 5V DC (USB).

“Industrial design does not get a lot of recognition or support in South Africa, even though we do great design work here,” says Ruwiel, whose company designs for a range of well-known brands including Shell, GE, Tellumat, Addis and British American Tobacco (BAT), to name a few.

Ruwiel says that the award gives the PowerPac concept and IDESO a great deal of credibility and it comes at a good time, as Cape Town prepares to host the World Design Capital year-long event in 2014, which will put SA on the global design map.

Ideso is now seeking an investment partner with an existing brand in the cycling industry to enable it to develop the PowerPac product further and get it into mass production.