Battery Adapter Turns Smartphone into Ultra-Remote

By Steve Anderson March 08, 2013

Bluetooth is a technology that not only has a lot of possibilities by itself, but it also has a lot of possibilities that are undiscovered. Give the people behind Bluetooth due credit, though, as they're constantly looking for more ways to use the technology. Tetherboard, however, may have hit one major use, with the concept of Tethercell. Tethercell is a battery adapter that allows a smartphone backed up by an app to take control of just about any device that runs on AA batteries.

It sounds downright insidious, but this has a lot of potential. Tethercell is basically just a small plastic insert that can be loaded with an AA battery. From there, the insert can connect to a smartphone and provide status reports about that battery, thus easily letting a user see when a battery needs changed, or will need changing in short order.

But moreover, the app allows Tethercell to take control of those devices, including setting schedules for the devices to run or to be shut down, or being able to shut them down remotely. Tetherboard presented a variety of applications for the devices, including connecting them to a video game controller, ensuring that a wireless version wouldn't be able to run during certain hours, or connecting them to a battery-powered toy, allowing parents to get a shot of peace and quiet by temporarily killing a noisy toy. Perhaps best of all is the "locate" feature, which allows users to find a missing device equipped with Tethercells by tracking the signal coming from same sent to the phone.

Tetherboard started Tethercell as part of an Indiegogo project, and has already passed its funding goal with 47 days left to the campaign. That by itself is a pretty strong endorsement--a lot of people are very much in favor of this project--but considering that it also took home some more professional accolades, this is a big deal indeed. It came away with the "Prototype of the Year" award in the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) at the recently-concluded Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, and that, along with a clear and present interest demonstrated by a rapidly successful Indiegogo campaign, shows off just how much interest there is in the device.

It's easy to see why it's so popular; imagine no more lost remotes, no more illicit game-playing when older kids should be doing their homework, no more screeching battery-powered toys beyond the limits of endurance. Devices can be found, scheduled, and remotely killed, and all from just one single device. It's hard not to see the market potential behind that.

Perhaps the only downside to this report is that there is no word, as yet, about broader distribution or pricing. Based on the Indiegogo, though, the early pricing was $29 for a Tethercell and the matching app (bulk pricing was $25 per unit when 50 were bought at once in the "Distributor Pack"), which may serve to limit demand somewhat. But still, given the sheer number of uses out there for Tethercell, it's a safe bet that these will find quite a few interested buyers.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

Contributing TechZone360 Writer

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