In an age of amazingly capable, brilliantly designed consumer electronics, there is no greater buzzkill than the charging cable. It’s a nuisance that manifests itself in all sorts of ways: the unsightly rat tail hanging down from your expertly mounted flat-screen TV, the untamable mess of cords under your desk, or just the way the charging cable included with the iPhone is, without fail, just a little bit too short for you to use the thing comfortably while the other end’s plugged into the wall. It’s maddening.
The obvious way out of this tethered Hell is to get rid of cables altogether–it’s why AirPlay is so genuinely cool and why induction charging, even in its current, clunky form, is still so enticing. But the Bobine takes a different approach: it’s a charging cable that’s not really a cable at all.
Rather than one of those floppy things you’re used to, the Bobine is a USB charging cable stuffed inside a flexible metal gooseneck. The material holds its form when you bend it into shape, so the Bobine not only charges your phone but serves as a sort of reconfigurable dock, too, propping your smartphone up at whatever height or angle you desire. Even when you’re not charging, you can use the Bobine as a sort of tripod for taking pictures and video with your phone, standing it up on flat surfaces or wrapping it around door handles or tree limbs, à la the Gorillapod.
Jon Fawcett, the designer behind the un-cable, said the idea occurred to him when he was fiddling with a prototype dock he’d made for his own nightstand. He had wanted something that could offer several different viewing angles, but his design precluded a built-in connector, and he’d been forced to rely on a standard charging cable rigged on after the fact. From that suboptimal setup, he told me, he had the big idea: Why not “integrate it all into one, for charging and positioning.”
He quickly realized that the combo design went a long way to solving desktop cable clutter. “I no longer have cables laying all over my desk,” Fawcett told me. “They are all standing up in the air, and my desk is clean.” In theory, it’s a perfect solution–more versatile than a standard dock and tidier than a standard cable. In practice, it might be just a bit goofy to have your smartphone perpetually floating next to your computer display, and I’d imagine that there are instances in which a bulky metal charging cable is just as frustrating as an untidy standard one. Still, you have to respect a lowly charging cable that strives to do something a little bit more with itself.
[Hat tip: Swiss Miss]