Sweet idea for cable in the works

BondCable is a charging cable that bonds onto itself when coiled, to keep things neat and tidy.
BondCable is a charging cable that bonds onto itself when coiled, to keep things neat and tidy.PHOTO: CLEVERTHINGS

Tired of entangled and messy cables?

A Singapore design firm has come up with a charging cable that bonds onto itself when coiled, to keep things neat and tidy. Called BondCable, it is inspired by a belt candy.

Currently a Kickstarter crowd-funding project, it has raised more than $50,000 so far after launching in the middle of last month, while surpassing its $15,000 target within a day.

The BondCable is the first project for CleverThings, a spin-off from local design firm Design Insight. It has more than 16 years of experience in the design and development of consumer products with clients including tech giant Samsung, audio companies Sennheiser and Archt.

Mr Quentin Quek, Design Insight's founder and design lead, says: "We are tired of hearing and using the word 'smart' on so many consumer products and decided to create clever products that are useful and sustainable."

On the belt candy inspiration, he says: "While working on ideas to coil and manage cables effectively, the design team was snacking on a belt candy."

The team noticed the grooves on the long-strip candy, sparking the Eureka moment when they realised they could design self-bonding grooves on a flat cable.

That was 18 months ago.

Since then, the team of six went from making the BondCable's early prototypes to selecting the manufacturer to refining its grooved profile, tolerances, material hardness and reliability with production engineers.

"Through more than 10 rounds of prototyping, testing, evaluation and revision, we finally arrived at a production-ready status in February this year," says Mr Quek.

Ironically, the Covid-19 pandemic has helped the design team focus on the BondCable project, as many of its projects for other clients were either delayed or cancelled.

"Even with over 16 years of collaborating and working with global brand names and exciting start-ups, we never felt more alive working on a design project that is 100 per cent our own," Mr Quek says.

He says that crowd-funding platforms like Kickstarter allow them to "test" the commercial viability of the project.

It also lets them reach a worldwide audience with a relatively low start-up cost.

Mr Quek adds that CleverThings is now in discussion with distributors and retailers from different regions to market BondCable.

"We are seeking more support and hope to get more pre-orders and sales through worldwide distributions channels, so as to produce BondCable in other colours and configurations," says Mr Quek.

BondCable will be available in five versions - USB-C-to-USB-A, USB-C-to-USB-C, microUSB-to-USB-A, Lightning-to-USB-A and Lightning-to-USB-C.

The two Lightning versions are expected to ship worldwide this October at $25.90, while the other three versions will retail at $17.90 when publicly available.

The BondCable Kickstarter campaign will end on July 16.

COILED TO PLEASE

I was sent a Lightning-to-USB-A version of the BondCable.

If you have watched the famously funny Long Long Man Sakeru Gum advertisements, you would know about the grooves on that long-strip candy, which bond thinner strips of the candy together and allow each to be torn off.

The 1.2m-long BondCable, made from polyvinyl chloride or PVC, follows the same philosophy - the cable catch onto the protrusions of its grooves - thereby bonding the cable together when coiled.

Just coil the flat cable in a circular motion onto itself and give it a tight squeeze. The coiled cable will stay in place for easy portability.

The unit I reviewed has the USB-A part on the inside end of the coil, with the Lightning part on the outside end when you finish coiling.

I tried coiling in the opposite direction such that the Lightning end ends up in the centre of the coil and found it still manages to bond onto itself pretty well. I was able to pull out the Lightning end to charge my iPhone while connecting the USB-A end to a USB charging point.

There was no warning message when I plugged the BondCable into my iPhone, which means it has Apple's certification.

My only worry is the durability of the BondCable. Whether it will stand up to repeated coiling and uncoiling over the long haul, I will know only after using it for a while.