Interrupt Design, Not Power
The surge protector, the power strip all seem to have had make-overs to make them more appealing and presentable. Why not apply it to the average UPS units, and then some?
These big black boxes are stuffed under desks everywhere and they play quite the vital role in ensuring that work continues. Many times have these things saved us from not saving in time. While these units are, no doubt, useful, the common uninterruptible power supplies seem to not have changed since the dawn of personal computers. Mainstream units still sport the early 90s design aesthetics and they seem to eat batteries, especially when its most inconvenient. Until there is wireless power transmission, we most likely won’t be able to get away from these things anytime soon.
Here is an idea.
Homes and offices are starting get connected with small networks that monitor and control the utilities and basic fixtures. Lights, outlets, HVAC systems all can be programmed to run when they are needed and how they are needed: at peak efficiency. Feedback from devices provides insight into usage, prevents too much usage and early alerts prevent issues. Modern battery tech has advanced greatly as well. Chargers monitor best charge rates and smart batteries report back usage, charge cycles and other data which helps keep them operating at max capacity for longer.
This UPS would hook right in to the automation networks and the internet. It monitors whatever is plugged in, reports on usage and allows for the control of each outlet. If there is a power loss, the unit would do its best to report on it and log the event. Intelligent battery monitoring and charging is the more important feature. Diligent battery management results in less frequent batt. replacements and provides advance warnings on potential failures. With the UPS being connected to the web, it can send out maintenance requests as needed preventing downtime at the wrong time. This is similar to how a car monitors its own battery health – why not do it with every battery?
If the UPS is going to provide power, why not have it do so over USB as well. Charging USB devices should not be dependent on the power state of the computer nor should it demand yet another thing plugged into the wall. A small USB power point is a way to bring USB charging to the desktop, within easy reach for quick power-ups. The power point grabs power from the same USB ports on the main unit and features small LED lights to show basic UPS status.
The clean design is meant to allow one to keep this UPS on the floor and visible without shame. The unit does also has provisions for wall mounting or even under-table mounting to tuck it out of view. A cradle gets attached where ever desired and the unit clips in.
There is no need to re-invent the wheel. All the technology is readily available. There are UPS units, smart battery tenders, USB chargers and home automation adapters. Why not simplify things a bit, merge and save some wires, plugs, outlets and batteries. After all, less is more.