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November 20, 2012

Phorce: A Smart Bag for Today's Mobile World

By TMCnet Special Guest
Marijn Berk, Founder, Phorce

We bring our bags wherever we go. Without them, our mobile devices simply wouldn't be as mobile; we'd always have our hands full, and could only bring as much as we can hold in our hands. On the other hand, think about just how mobile you could be if you had a bag that could do much more.

100 years ago, we used our bags to carry around paper, pens and books. Nowadays we use them to carry around laptops, tablets and smartphones. 

Our needs have changed entirely: instead of worrying about running out of ink for our pens, we worry about our devices running out of power. Instead of traveling by horse and carriage, we travel by metro, bike, car, plane or train. We live more dynamic lives than any generation before us, and as our lives become increasingly mobile, our bags grow more and more important.

But despite all this, our bags have barely changed with the time. 

Everything's become connected, and everything's become multifunctional: the first cell phone could barely make a phone call, while the latest smartphones can call, browse the Web and become anything you want it to be through apps – all simultaneously.

So why did bags get left behind? Bag makers are not technologists. They understand fabrics, leather and sewing machines, but they don't understand software and electronics. This is also true the other way around. They tend to have huge product lines, so updating their existing product line takes up all their time – leaving no time for transformational innovation.

That's the short answer as to why bags seemed to assume a stagnant trend.

We at Phorce set out to completely reinvent the bag industry with Phorce – the world's first smart bag. Not just through technology, but also through design and mechanics. In other words: we wanted to make a better bag, while seamlessly enriching it with the latest technologies. What we ended up with is the first major breakthrough in bag design since the invention of the backpack. It can actually transform to become a briefcase, a backpack, or a messenger – and all three are great bags. 

And we don't just call it a smart bag because of its design: we integrated the latest technologies as well, like a powerful lightweight charging technology, Bluetooth connectivity, and sensors that track how Phorce is doing. Phorce can charge 1000s of devices (phones, tablets, cameras, etc.), and there's even a version that can power MacBooks. It's powerful to charge an iPhone (News - Alert) 5 over 8 times, or for 6 full charges of the Samsung Galaxy S3.

Via its integrated Bluetooth, Phorce can talk to your smartphone. The Phorce app (iOS and Android (News - Alert)) displays intuitive graphics that show you exactly how much power is left and what you can do with it, and it can even send you a notification in case you LEAVE your bag behind.

Phorce really is years ahead of what bag makers are doing right now. Years.

After many months of hard work, we now have functional prototypes and are in talks with various manufacturers to have Phorce made. With our Kickstarter project we hope to raise enough money to take the next steps and get Phorce into your hands.

We're thrilled about Phorce, and we hope the world will be too.


Marijn Berk is an established Amsterdam-based entrepreneur specializing in consumer electronics, nanotechnology and portable power. He is a former Kauffman Foundation scholar, recipient of a Startup Chile grant, and was named Young Entrepreneur of the Year in his home country. His previous company, which created solar chargers that enabled off-grid consumers in the developing world to charge their mobile phones, won iF and Reddot design awards. Phorce’s designer, James Jeffrey has 10 years of experience designing and shipping bags for major brands like Knomo and Crumpler, where he was head of design for three years. Visit www.getphorce.com for more information. 




Edited by Braden Becker
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