The iPhone 4 Meets Its SolMate

Tired of solar chargers that are ineffective, poorly designed and made of cheap plastic in suspicious manufacturing plants? Adam Benzion of Seattle-based Green Simian was. So Benzion got together with an engineer friend to make the SolMate, a solar charger for the iPhone 4 that its creators believe even Steve Jobs would have approved of.

Combining high-quality hardware and software in a design that complements the latest edition of the iconic smartphone, the SolMate works as both an iPhone case and a solar charger, packing in the power via double-decker circuitry, such as its inductive charging chip, “hardcore fuel gauge,” micro-controller and software that talks to all that hardware in the charger’s power storage and power production units.  The design says “no” to plastic and low-cost Chinese factories and “yes” to aluminum-cut CNC casing, made in the Seattle area with a manufacturing partner that builds parts for Boeing.

SolMate solar charger

If all of this sophisticated design sounds as if it adds up to one spendy charger, there’s good news, as the SolMate can be yours for just $150.00. There is a catch, though, as the SolMate is a Kickstarter project — meaning that if Green Simian hits its stated goal of raising $100,000.00 by January 31st, 2012, the SolMate will actually go into production. So far, the project has hit only around 15 percent of that, but don’t let that stop you from pledging your support – we’ve seen some fine green tech projects hit their mark on Kickstarter in the final month (and if the mark isn’t met, of course, you’ll get your cash back).

You can support the project for a donation of $20.00 or more, but if you want your own SolMate (and who doesn’t?) you’ll have to chip in at the $150.00 mark or above – a larger donation will get you engraving, acknowledgment, adulation and more SolMates. More information is available via Kickstarter.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.