Two tech projects seeking investors caught our attention: a case that makes the iPhone a dual-SIM phone and a cooking pot that charges devices.
Nokia has long been offering, and touting the benefits of
, dual-SIM phones—phones that can hold two SIM cards, enabling a user to switch between SIMs, whether to separate business and personal plans or to take advantage of a better rate plan when traveling. Samsung now offers a dual-SIM version of the Galaxy S 4, and HTC offers a dual-SIM version of the One. Apple iPhone users, however, are without the option. Though SIM+—one of two recent funds-seeking projects that caught our eyes—would like to change that.
Posted Dec. 10 to HWTrek, an online platform that exposes inventors to new-product "experts," other creators and customers, the Digirit SIM+ is a lightweight protective case that turns the iPhone 5 into a dual-SIM device.
"Business travelers and world explorers are all too familiar with the hassle of carrying two phones or regularly switching SIM cards," Digitec says in its pitch
Pop out the phone's SIM, snap on the Digirit case, put in one SIM and then the next, and then snap on a colored band, protecting the two.
"Any SIM card that your iPhone 5 accepts can be used with our SIM switcher—that means any carrier, any country, any network settings," says Digirit.
Switching between the SIMs is a matter of a few taps in Settings (it then takes 45 to 60 seconds for the phone to recalibrate). Or, the software can be set to switch from one card to the other if the signal is low, or at a time designated by the user (maybe if one plan gets free evening minutes and the other doesn't).
The case weighs 20 grams, and with an iPhone 5 in it measures 2.46 by 0.41 by 4.92 inches. (The iPhone 5, on its own, measures 2.31 by 0.30 by 4.87 inches and weighs 112 grams.)
The SIM+ case offers a storage slot for a third (not connected) SIM and will come in a number of color combinations, such as black with a gray band or white with a red one. Those who pledge $55 get a SIM+ plastic case and two different color aluminum covers (the bands).
Fire Plus Water Equals Power
Campers, social hermits, anyone living with an iffy power grid, and city-dwellers preparing for a blackout or zombie apocalypse may want to take note of the PowerPot X, a no-electricity-required device charger
that on its third day on Kickstarter exceeded its $30,000 goal.
The PowerPot X is a more powerful follow-up to a V series. It's literally a lightweight cooking pot—or two, really; it comes in a "couple's size" and a "group size"—that could be taken camping, for making oatmeal or what have you, or kept in the kitchen pantry for when the lights go out. But it's a pot with a thermo-electric generator on its bottom and, coming off of its handle, a 2-amp dual-USB output that offers 10 watts of power.
This is enough power, say the PowerPot makers, to charge two smartphones at once and, unlike the PowerPot V, enough to charge a tablet. (They recommend charging the tablet alone, however, for greater charging efficiency.)
Other improvements from the PowerPot V include the need for less heat to make more power and a built-in power meter. Each light on the power meter displays 1 watt of power and it displays up to 10 watts.
It has no moving parts and ships with a lifetime warranty. Those who pledge $165 get a 2.3-liter pot, a 2.3-liter portable generator (it can also sit on a gas stove, though, or even the embers of a campfire), the dual-USB output charging cable with the power meter, a lid and a carry bag.
A little pricey, but if your smartphone helped lead you into the woods, it may be the price of having a charged phone lead you out.