The new 12-inch MacBook from Apple is packed with cool tech, and its USB-C port is a prime example. The port allows for charging as well as data connectivity, meaning you can draw power from things like USB power banks, which are traditionally designed for phones and tablets. The Voltus, a new project launching today on Kickstarter, will charge your MacBook at the same rate as if you were plugged into the wall, and provides a USB 3.0 hub to give you a couple of extra ports, too.
Although the MacBook already works with existing USB power banks, like those provided by Mophie and other third-party manufacturers, the power output of those devices is designed for mobile devices, rather than the 29w output the MacBook uses. That means that they’ll charge the MacBook only very slowly – or just slow the rate at which you expend battery if you’re using the machine to do any serious work. Voltus was designed to address this problem.
The Voltus charger offers either 9 or 13 additional hours of battery life for your MacBook (depending on the capacity you choose), and does so by way of a USB-C output that will work with the charging cable included with your MacBook, or with the 6-foot model included with Voltus itself.
You can also use the Voltus to power your iPhone, iPad, or any other USB device, thanks to two USB output ports. Combined with the capacity used in the Voltus’ cells, these will allow you to run your mobile gadgets for many times longer than their rated capacity. Plus, it can actually charge both your MacBook and an iPhone or iPad simultaneously, providing you with a nearly ideal cross-device mobile power station. Recharging the Voltus takes 5 hours for the 35Wh basic version, or 7.5 hours for the Pro 55Wh model.
Voltus’ neat trick is being able to act as a pass-through for your MacBook charging while at home – it has both USB-C in and USB-C out, meaning you can plug your adapter into the wall, plug that into the Voltus and then use the two USB ports on the battery itself for connecting all your USB accessories, like your iPhone and a flash drive, while still powering your notebook and charging the battery.
The company behind Voltus has already created the RIDEYE, a camera for bikes designed to act as a black box for cyclists involved in accidents or scrapes. Said device eventually shipped to backers and is now available for purchase via online retail, so the Voltus team has experience in building crowdfunded gadgets.
Voltus is available to backers starting at $99 in three different colors to roughly match the finish of the MacBook (the gold edition is a more expensive upgrade, and the gray version is the higher-capacity pro model), and the team anticipates shipping the first units to backers by August.