When the power goes out, it’s terrible. Nothing works, and for some reason it’s impossible to remember that: I always find myself doing things like “well if I can’t watch TV I can at least read this book, I’ll just turn on the light…” and then nada of course. With SmartCharge, a new Kickstarter project, that might actually work, since it’s an LED bulb with a built-in power reserve that remains on uninterrupted when the rest of your power goes off.
The LED bulb component of SmartCharge fits standard light fixtures and cuts power usage by up to 90 percent vs. incandescents, and should last 25 years under normal usage conditions, if everything goes as predicted. When the power goes out, the SmartCharge bulb has a reserve battery built-in that’s good for up to four hours of lighting, which should be enough to weather most storms and brownouts.
The key to SmartCharge’s magic is that it recognizes and remembers the position of the light switch before the power outage, and then continues on again after the power returns as if nothing had ever happened. This smart switch position memory even works with two and three-stage lights, but there is a downside: It only works with one light in a series controlled by a single switch at the moment, though the founding team is sorting out a way it can work with a single switch that controls a whole bank of bulbs.
Founder Shailendra K. Suman previously started a successful propane gas tank metering company, as well as a lost item tracking gadget startup, and he has worked for Northern State Power in the past and has two degrees in engineering, so he knows a thing or two about brownouts and building things.
SmartCharge is seeking $50,000 in funding, and has already raised nearly $15,000 of that with 42 days left in the campaign. Backers qualify for a pre-order of a single SmartCharge bulb starting at $35, which is actually very reasonable when compared to the price of even basic, non-smart LED bulbs these days. Suman anticipates shipping to backers will begin in April next year.