Saturday, October 23, 2010

Backpack promises to charge batteries on the go

By Laura Bly, USA TODAY

While I greet much of the travel gear that crosses my desk with a yawn, I'm intrigued by something that hasn't even been manufactured yet: A TSA-friendly, $130 backpack from Trek Support with a built-in, rechargeable battery that lasts up to seven hours and can power up to three USB gadgets at once.

The nylon backpack features a clamshell design with a large main pocket for a laptop (up to 15" ) and outer pockets for smaller gadgets. Padded nylon boards and mesh pockets help keep everything in place, but the bottom of the bag is the real star, says "It contains a rechargeable battery that will charge your gadgets while you're about. Running out of juice? Just plop your bag down and plug it in and not only will the battery recharge, but the entire backpack will work as a power strip." U.S. travelers will be happy with the TSA-compatible design: It doesn't require you to take your notebook out at checkpoints; just unzip the pack and lay it flat on the conveyor belt, adds

The catch? It's offered by Quirky, a year-old start-up that crowdsources the design of new projects and promises to actually manufacture them when they get enough pre-orders. Would-be customers have to give their credit card numbers and commit to buy a product for a pre-sales price; the card isn't charged unless and until the product hits the market. (According to a company spokesman, just over a third of the products it has featured have actually been manufactured/produced.)

While this backpack is far from ideal - the weight isn't specified, and it looks like there wouldn't be room for much else besides a laptop and the battery pack - I sure like the concept. Readers, what's your solution for keeping multiple gadgets charged and organized while you're on the road?
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