Bike lovers, listen up.
San Diego-based Grace Digital is an audio electronics company that recently changed gears (pun intended) to develop the EcoXPower, a generator kit that easily attaches to the hub of the front wheel of a bicycle, designed to power both LED bicycle lights and a smartphone or GPS system.
A "hub dynamo" is a small electric generator that converts mechanical energy (pedal power) into electrical energy by rotating small magnets. Think back to your electromagnetics course (or juts accept this phenomenon to be true): "a changing magnetic field creates a current".
Hub dynamos are not new to biking technology - how do you think the LED lights on a Velib are powered?
What sets EcoXPower apart is to provide a high-capacity system to power both lights and a smartphone - in a very user-friendly way. The EcoXPoewr kit includes a hub dynamo, an ultra bright LED headlamp and two 2 rear LED lights, and a water-resistant touchscreen case which mounts to the bicycle's handlebars to hold the smartphone or GPS device.
The EcoXPower works with all iPhones, Android, Windows, Blackberry and MP3 USB devices and allows you while riding to easily glance at your mounted mobile device, as well as access an on/off switch on the handlebars to control the lights.
The system also contains a lithium-ion battery which will keep the lights on and the phone charging for up to 90 minutes, while you take a water or food break.
The EcoXPower is commercially available on the website for $99.99.
I'm not sure I find this device practical for city riding, but for those bicycle adventures that often entail little access to electricity, the EcoXPower could be a gamechanger.