If your phone or tablet battery is dead or low, restaurants, pubs, and other public spaces are a good places to charge your devices.
That was the thinking behind ChefCharger, co-founded by Lana Ibragimova, who first noticed a persistent trend among customers at the restaurants she managed - they often requested tables near a power outlet to charge their phone.
The problem led to the development of Circle, which lets you plug your nearly dead phone into a bamboo waterproof drinks coaster, enabling it to be charged and used while you enjoy a drink.
In addition to the engraved designs which will be available at launch, Kickstarter backers have access to limited edition Circle sets featuring artwork by Jon Burgerman.
Ibragimova, who has a Ph.D. in Entrepreneurial and International Law as well as an MBA from MIT School of Management, said the concept came from the idea that if guests had some way to charge their devices at every table, they could enjoy their meal without worrying about a low battery.
"I didn’t want to put ugly-looking bulky boxes in the middle of the tables," she said. "I had to come up with something more elegant and natural for a fine dining environment: a charging device which would look like a stylish tabletop accessory with an additional functionality. I met my co-founder, Alex, while studying at MIT – and together, we founded ChefCharger to bring the idea into reality."
"After launching ChefCharger, we received an overwhelmingly positive feedback. People liked our elegant chargers in the public places they visited and wondered if there might be a similar solution for home."
Circle comes with a complementary charging base which fits three coasters and restores them to full charge in two hours.
The waterproof Circle coaster is made from bamboo. The charging base is made with acacia, pine, and cherry wood, and the charging cable is made from fabric.
Both the Circle coasters and charging base offer improved safety features, providing battery short circuit and fuse protection to safeguard users and their phones in the event of a voltage or current spike.
Additionally, both offer multiple levels of protection from overcurrent, overvoltage, overcharge, and overdischarge.
You can choose from one of many engraved or printed designs – or have your own design engraved. The face of your dog, your business logo, your name, or anything you can think of.
"While working at the new project, we thought that it would be a great idea if we could collaborate with a famous artist to meet the needs of sophisticated geeks," said Ibragimova. "MIT is renowned for design innovation. Design made by an artist can add an artistic touch to home devices. Since doodle art is an interesting art form that features a mind-blowing amount of detail, we asked Jon Burgerman to join our project."
"When we shared our ideas with Jon, he responded with enthusiasm," continued Ibragimova. "He likes to experiment and has been involved in a lot of challenging projects. The new challenge was to make beautiful and arresting designs that would look great on bamboo coasters."
"The artist came up with the ideas that led to the various design concepts. Burgerworld and Digital Themed sets feature full colour prints while the Doodle set has a monochrome seamless drawing engraved on bamboo with laser."
"Jon is an outstanding artist. He took into account the tech part of the project and offered the awesome designs that we loved very much."
The coaster is a cross-platform charger, compatible with Android, iOS, and Windows Phones.
It's equipped with autosense technology and automatically adjusts to a device’s needs for optimum charging.
The coasters can be equipped with Lightning or microUSB connectors, allowing buyers and backers to choose the configuration for their own lifestyle and technology needs.
The charging base is compatible with international power supply standards.
Kickstarter backers can choose the One Circle pledge, which offers a Circle coaster (not illustrated by Jon Burgerman) and a special USB-to-Circle cable which will allow users to charge the Circle from any USB.