Functional Tethercell prototype shown with all internal components
How about making any AA battery powered device turn on or off remotely via a simple mobile app? This is exactly the concept behind Tethercell – an AA-sized battery unit that comes with a built in Bluetooth 4.0 which can connect directly to a dedicated iPhone app.
Brainchild of Trey Madhyastha and Kellan O’Connor, Tethercell is an innovative concept for a new kind of a battery which you can control using a simple app from your mobile device. As to rocket scientists, who worked on mechanical and fluid systems for the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, Madhyastha and O’Connor decided to choose a more down to earth target for their new project – batteries.
The Tethercell is a relatively simple device – it’s made of a plastic casing the size of an AA battery which hosts a AAA smaller battery inside squeezed alongside a Bluetooth low power module. There are actually a number of things that you can do with the Tethercell. You can use it to turn different electronic devices including ones which are located in hard to reach places where turning the device on or off might not be idle.
Besides turning devices on and off the Tethercell can also schedule when to turn devices on and off thus preserving battery life and helping you use your devices in a smarter, more efficient manner. Another cool feature is the battery life meter. The Tethercell mobile app can let you know when the battery is about to be depleted (or needs a charge).
Tethercell uses low-power Bluetooth 4.0 technology, which consumes very low amounts of energy at greater distances (up to 160 feet), and is based on short data cycles instead of constant data transfer. The main downside with BT 4.0 is that its new and so relatively few devices support it (although the iPhone 4S/5 and new iPad and iPad mini do as well as Samsung Galaxy S3, Note 2 and upcoming android devices).
Tethercell is currently a crowd-funded project on Indiegogo, looking to get almost $60,000 within the next several weeks. The price for a single Tethercell is currently $35 but the developers are promising that when the units will start selling in quantities, prices will come down (they have mentioned as low as $10).
You can find more information on the Tethercell on the Indiegogo website.
– A video demostrating the Tethercell
Iddo has a B.A. in Philosophy and Cognitive Science and an M.A. in Philosophy of Science from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is currently writing his Ph.D. thesis on the relationship between the scientific community and industry. Iddo was awarded the 2006 Bar Hillel philosophy of science prize for his work on the relationship between science and technology. He is a member of the board of the lifeboat foundation and was the editor of several high-profile science and technology websites since 1999.