Liz Salcedo was a social worker who helped other people with their problems, but she had a problem of her own: a battery life problem. She was using her phone heavily, and by 2 p.m. on most days, her iPhone was almost completely out of juice.
Her husband decided to lend a hand and bought her a number of third-party mobile chargers. Together they rigged a system to charge her phone in her purse so she didn't have to chase down AC outlets wherever she went.
"We made modifications to it and it worked fairly well," Salcedo, 27, told ABC News. "Friends started wanting me to make one for them."
So she did. Together with her husband and now-business-partner, Dan, she has created Everpurse, a bag with a built-in battery charger.
The small bag, which is meant to fit inside a larger purse or laptop bag, has a built-in charging pocket. You drop your phone in the bag and it "automatically connects to the charger via gravity," says Salcedo. Salcedo wouldn't go into detail on how the phone connects; the patent, she says, is still pending. There will be bags that support the older iPhone charging port, Apple's new Lightning port, and MicroUSB ports, which are used on most Android phones.
A battery in the bag charges your phone, and a wireless pad charges the battery in the bag. Using inductive charging you lay the bag right on the pad. It works similarly to the wireless-charging Powermat accessories, but uses the Qi wireless charging standard, which is the same technology in Nokia's new Lumia 820 and 920.
"I think wireless charging is where we are headed," Salcedo said. "I wanted to do something that cut down on the wires."
That's also shown in the design of the bag itself. Behind the bag's inside lining are the inductive receiver and battery. You cannot see wires or the battery; Everpurse teamed up with two Chicago designers to craft the bags so that they look non-technical. The small bags will be available in different colors and materials, including leather and cloth.
But they aren't quite ready yet. With a prototype made, Salcedo took the project to Kickstarter.com, a crowdfunding website, which allows people to invest in and buy the product. Since launching last week on the site, more than 800 people have backed the project and Everpurse has raised over $125,000.
Early backers were able to buy one fabric Everpurse and one charging mat for $99, typically a $175 value, says Salcedo. For $119, Everpurse is offering a leather bag and one charging mat. The Kickstarter deals will be offered until Oct. 13.
Kickstarter projects don't always take off, but Everpurse seems to have struck a chord with buyers and other consumer electronics companies. While Salcedo says she will likely sell the bag after the Kickstarter run, she also says she may license the technology to other bag makers. Within the last couple of weeks she has heard from a few bag and technology companies.
It's going to be a bit of time before you can get the Everpurse. Salcedo says it will ship by March 2013. (Her plan is to make as much of the bag as possible in the U.S.) Looks as if some of us will just have to be okay with rigging our own purse-phone-charging systems until then.