The history of invention has largely, except in cases of accidental discoveries, has been a drive for improvement and convenience, the other main instigator for innovation, aside from accidents, being necessity.

A direct line can be line between the horse saddle, the steam train and the automobile with the common factor being that people got tired, in both senses of the word, from walking so blasted much. It is the same thing with getting information, running over the past thousand years or so to papyrus to paper and ink to what can now be found on the Internet (not that I am complaining in any way).

One of the greatest puzzles of recent years is the issue of energy and how to keep it going. While a perpetual motion machine has yet to be invented and is not looking terribly likely, it does not mean that people are not taking a good crack at it with renewable energy sources. One of the alternative sources that is showing some real promise is solar energy. What was once the domain of large, heavy and expensive panels mounted to the roof of one’s domicile has gone under a similar shift to cell-phones over the past few decades getting smaller, easier to use and less expensive. It has gotten to the point now that there is a powerful, durable, useful solar panel small enough to fit in your pocket. Meet PocketPower solar charger by FlexPower Solar Gadgets.

How PocketPower solar charger happened

Directly following the great success of their slightly larger Powerleaf solar charger, which is roughly the length and width of a book and opens in a similar way, the bright sparks at FlexPower decided to go even smaller, first conceptualizing what would become the PocketPower in late 2015 and finally reached its KickStarter goal in early 2017.

What sets it apart

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There have been solar panels around for years and smaller, foldable models are nothing terribly new. One of the major things that sets the PocketPower apart from almost any other solar charger on the market is its size. Unfolded to its full-size, the solar panel 141mm long and 200mm wide and thinner than a quarter.

Folded it is even smaller, much smaller than a mini tablet and only slightly bigger than a standard smartphone. The panel has built-in magnets that keep the unit securely closed. It can be unfolded anywhere there is sunshine and plugged in to any standard USB device including phones, tablets, GPS systems and Bluetooth headsets. For added convenience, the unfolded unit can be attached to the front of any backpack, offering power even on a hiking or camping trip. One of the main advantages the PocketPower has over other, similar units is its built-in powerbank that holds charge, and despite its small size, the PocketPower delivers a constant charge without annoying cut outs that can happen with other small solar chargers.

How it works

The PocketPower consists of four solar-cell charging panels protected by a deep embossed, ETFE film coating and integrated lamination, making them very easy to clean and very difficult to break. These connect to a central powerbank with an intelligent voltage regulator with an automatic restart function, keeping things humming merrily along with no human intervention required. Isaac Asimov would be terrified.

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Trevor McNeil spent much of his childhood playing video-games on early-form personal computers back when the disks were literally floppy. He attended the University of Victoria, completing a degree in Social Science with a concentration in Technology In Society, while also writing for the campus newspaper. He has written articles for such diverse publications as Humanity Death Watch, PopMatters and Perfect Sound Forever. He is a veteran of numerous “watershed moments” in the history of technological development and firmly believes that Han shot first.

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