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Building a better hand-crank smartphone charger

Don't let a little thing like an apocalypse stop you from charging your phone. The SOSCharger on Kickstarter improves on the hand-crank charger concept.

Sure, it's a little chunky, but at least your phone will keep working.
SOS Ready

Most of us live our lives in blissful proximity to power outlets. We can charge up our phones when needed, without worry. But sometimes you're stuck in no-man's land, or you've forgotten your power cable, or you're out camping, or the zombie apocalypse has begun. That's when a gadget like the SOSCharger could come in handy.

The SOSCharger has a 1,500mAh Lithium Polymer battery built into it. You can charge it up through cranking or by plugging it into a standard outlet using the same USB charger cable that came with your phone. That way, it also acts as a battery backup option. You'll only have to crank it if absolutely necessary.

Hand-crank chargers have been done before, so what makes this one different? For starters, it's pretty affordable. Some lucky Kickstarter early birds got into the game at $25. The regular pledge price is $35. That's a lot less than Sony's recent $100 hand-cranker released in Japan.

The SOSCharger will work with most devices, even Kindles and Bluetooth headsets. It also has a decent claim for what you get for your winding efforts: 3 to 5 minutes of winding results in 5 to 12 minutes of talk time. Compare that with Sony's 3 minutes of cranking resulting in 1 minute of talk time.

The hand-crank charger is about the size of an iPod Classic, making it small enough to carry around or take camping.

Even if all the cell phone towers have been incapacitated and the zombies have overrun the city, you still can crank away merrily at your iPhone, soothing yourself with the dulcet sounds of Justin Bieber and playing Angry Birds.

Crank it up. SOS Ready