An attempt by the company behind the famous folding Mu charger to fund a new charger design that does the same slimming act for global travellers hauling around smartphones and tablets has beaten its Indiegogo funding target on day one.
The launch target last Friday, 6 February, was a pessimistically low $10,000 (£6,600) for a firm that has a track record and products already on sale but reaching $106,000 after one weekend suggests that investors have faith that the company will deliver the product by the promised August 2015 delivery date.
What investors are putting their money into is the Mu System, an expansion of the original Mu charger idea to allow it to be used anywhere in the world.
The base of the system is a charge block with a single 2.4 amp USB power output, to which can be connected extensions covering the US (plus Japan and Taiwan), the EU (plus China and Korea), and Australia. A version for the UK/Hong Kong and parts of Asia is also available.
This doesn’t cover every possible socket type in the world although the modular design presumably means that additional ones could be made if demand merited it.
Conventional designs that have been around for thirty years are notoriously bulky whereas the Mu System promises to do the same job in a smaller, slimmer 14mm wide package.
In the days when adaptors and voltage converters were used to power nothing more demanding than hairdryers, travelllers put up with the bulk. Now that they must carry multiple adaptors to charge smartphones and tablets it has become a space-consuming exercise.
The Mu contains an auto-detection chip that recognises the type of device being connected, optimising the charge it delivers. This is the only one of a number of complications that underlines that this is more than a simple plug converter offering up the right shape of socket pins.
It is specifically meant to be used with devices such as smartphones and tablets – anything that can charge via a USB socket – rather than a laptop, which will have its own power adaptor and needs only a converter.
The original MU Classic, an award-winning design by Royal College of Art student Min-Kyu Choi that attracted publicity in 2009, was an attempt to make charging plugs smaller and lighter. It is now sold on Amazon for around £15 although that unit is limited to 1 amp output, too low for many power-hungry devices.
Another issue with this is cost – the Mu remains a relatively expensive way to lose some of the plastic bulk of the chargers that come with most devices, for UK users mainly the huge prongs. It’s also true that since it first appeared smartphone and tablet makers have slimmed down their own designs.
What nobody has come up with it’s a single charger that can do it all for a range of global power sockets with a decent power output. A wide range of USB charging systems are now sold at reasonable prices but each one requires a different plug interface for each territory.
“Some of you have been making suggestions for extra features, variants and additions to the Mu System, which is great. We would love to receive as many of these as possible so keep them coming,” said Made in Mind co-founder and CEO, Matthew Judkins.
Early funders can sign up for the full Mu system for $49 on Indiegogo.
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