Jul 18, 2016 | By Alec

Once again, Pokémon is the hottest thing in the world. Since the release of Pokémon Go on July 6, people of all ages have again embraced their inner geekiness and walked miles to relive their dreams of becoming a Pokémon master. But there is a lot more to this fantastic Niantic app than getting some exercise; it could even provide a boost to augmented reality development. However, Pokémon Go also perfectly underlines the main limitation of smartphone technology: battery life. Fortunately, there is a completely thematic solution, as you can now 3D print a PokéDex smartphone case that doubles as an extra battery pack.

It’s a problem that is affecting players of all shapes and sizes. You just stepped out for a break and a breath of fresh air, but before you know it you’ve walked three miles tracking that Ninetails. After overcoming all those Pidgeys and Zubats (and avoiding the glares of angry pedestrians around you), you are finally closing in on the majestic creature – only to have fate play a cruel trick on you. Your smartphone battery dies. It seems to be an integral challenge of the game, as the GPS and mobile data combination is poisonous to battery life. Add the camera and image processing to that, and you’ve only got a few good hours in the game. Tops.

If you’ve gone online in frustration after this happened for the third time in a row, you’ll have seen the advice for the only possible cure: carrying mobile charging packs around. Unfortunately, this is also unpractical and, not to forget, a big hassle. But there is a more stylish alternative: a battery pack Pokédex that holds your smartphone and charging pack in one single, perfectly themed container. Designed by SparkFun user NPOOLE, it perfectly mimics the Kanto-era Pokédex – but fits a Samsung Galaxy S4, and hides a 2,600 mAh battery pack.

Of course the best possible solution would be if Nintendo actually releases a Pokédex smartphone case itself (imagine the demand!), but this is a fantastic alternative for now. According to its designer, this is just the first iteration – with cooling fans and extra batteries planned for the near future. But you can already download the files from Github here to 3D print one yourself (or alter it to fit your particular phone).

As its maker reveals, he 3D printed his in a red ABS , and polished it with acetone to achieve a cool sheen. What’s more, the electrical portion should be pretty simple. “A 18650 lithium cell supplies backup power for your cell phone through a USB microB Plug Breakout mounted in the bottom of the Pokédex,” NPOOLE writes. “To charge your smartphone, the 3.7v output of the 18650 needs to be boosted to 5v, which is where the SparkFun Power Cell comes in.” Some LEDs are optional, but would complete the Pokédex look – though obviously these will drain a small percentage of your precious power too.

All of these electronics have been jammed into the backside of the Pokédex. “There isn’t really a particular place for any of the components besides the USB plug and the LEDs, so I just stuck everything down with heavy duty doublestick foam tape. Make sure the power switch and the USB charging port for the Power Cell are accessible once everything is mounted,” the maker says.

This should be more than enough to walk a few miles, though NPOOLE is even thinking about extra batteries and fans to make your PokéAdventure complete. Why should our imaginations be limited by something as mundane as batteries? If you’re lucky enough to have an Samsung Galaxy S4, be sure to check it out. But if you’re altering the designs to suit your smartphone, be sure to share it online with your fellow fans. You can be the coolest guy at the local PokéStop.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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