The folks at the Revolt Lab collective saw a need for a mobile charging solution for those hardy souls engaged in Occupy Boston, and whipped up this handy solar USB charger to help keep cellphones and cameras charged up and ready, even while in the midst of a social protest.
The Solar USB Box, or SUBcomandante, has an array of small solar panels mounted to the outside of a heavy-duty military surplus case, plus a voltage regulator and circuitry, connected to a USB hub for charging just about any USB-charged gadgets.
According to Revolt Lab,
"The great thing about USB-charged devices and most cell phones is that they all take 5 volts! With this simple project, you can make yourself an emergency charger for phones, mp3 players, digital cameras, and other tools crucial to the revolution."
The SUBcomandante build is fairly quick and dirty, using quick epoxy to mount the panels, regulator, and circuit board, and it uses a zippered pocket from an old pair of pants attached to the inside of the case to keep gadgets from bouncing around.
The original builder says that his first effort would only charge a smart phone while it's off, but it looks like the crew at Revolt Lab has been making some changes to increase the efficiency of the device. And even better, their projects are open source, so you can feel free to copy or redesign them as you see fit.
"Revolt Lab provides intellectual resources for revolutionaries and makers. Revolt is about learning to resist through engineering and learning to engineer through resistance. Our Projects page contains open source hardware designs developed to put electrons on the side of the people."