Wondering if there was a way to design her way around the disadvantages of wireless charging, interactive designer Alice Robbiani created the Spira, a sculptural charger that turns an iPhone into a magnetic objet d’art.
If you’ve ever owned an Oral-B toothbrush, you already know about inductive charging, a technology which allows you to wirelessly juice up a gadget’s battery just by placing it on a base station. It’s nifty tech, but there’s a reason we still juice most consumer gadgets by plugging them into a wall socket. Inductive charging is much, much slower, and unlike plugging a device into a USB charger, you can’t really use your smartphone as it charges: the second you pick it up off a base station, it stops charging.
Created as part of a product for the University of Contemporary Design and Applied Arts (more commonly known as ÉCAL), the Spira doesn’t so much solve these drawbacks as it does design its way around them. In this case, by creating an inductive charger you won’t mind your iPhone spending a lot of time resting on.
The Spira comes in two parts: a wall-mounted base station, and a special case which allows an iPhone to magnetically stick to the station as it charges. While your iPhone charges, special thermochromatic ink in the base station transitions from jet black into a round, fractal pattern. Not only does this allow you to see at a glance how much battery life your iPhone has soaked up so far, but when you twist your handset sideways, a pair of ticking hands take over the display, interacting with the glowing face of the base station to become a beautiful, wall-mounted clock.
Although this is just a one-off project right now, Spira is still an intriguing glimpse at the connected home of the future: one in which software, technology, and interior design aren’t just integrated, but intertwined.