Energy seems to be pouring in from a multitude of sources. We're continuously seeking practical and easy methods of generating the quantities of electricity our mobile gadgets crave. Served up this week is a human-driven device from San Francisco duo Aaron Latzke and David Delcourt, front men for Siva Cycle. The bike-friendly city has engendered a wheel-mounted generator the team dubbed the Atom (funding through May 23).
Affixing the Atom involves snuggling it between your rear axle and bicycle frame. Rotation of the wheel spins the magnetic rotors hidden within, squeezing the juice out of your efforts. After passing it through the unit's self-contained regulator, you can wire electricity directly into any USB device at 500mA, or store it in the Atom's detachable 1300mAh battery for later use. The package features ties and an adhesive backed ribbon cord, assuming you'd like to keep your wires out of the bicycle mechanism.
Power production breaks down like this: At 3MPH the Atom outputs 0.75 watts; 3W at 10MPH, and capping out at 4.5W at 15MPH. Resistance is described as "very difficult to tell", or riding up a 0.3 percent grade. The water resistant profile locks to your wheel: If that can't be stolen, neither can your Atom. Unfortunately, it doesn't play well with disc brakes. Attempt to finagle at your own risk.
The project already surpassed it $85,000 goal when this story was posted, and the duo have added a stretch goal of $110,000, at which point the Atom will gain a three-colored LED status light. With earlybirds exhausted, the only backing tier of note is the $95 complete device package ($10 less than the expected retail price) for an estimated November delivery.
The Atom is Siva Cycle's inaugural product, although the founders have significant experience in engineering, design, and product development. With design through the prototyping stage, they're ready to oversee production in their home state. Considering the successful funding on top of the team's expertise, this project is one of the safer bets in my book.