Did you know that those phone chargers you have plugged into your wall all around your house are eating up energy? It's dumb but true - those mobile phone chargers converting AC current to DC use energy, even if no device is pugged into it. You can test this yourself by touching your average wall charger, it might be a little warm to the touch even without anything in it.
This eats up more power than you would expect - according to Oulu-based ASMO's Kickstarter video, every year for each mobile charger you own, you pay for 8000 watts of wasted electricity. With this much electricity you could make 80 cups of coffee, or keep your laptop running for 260 hours.
Wall chargers can also be dangerous. CEO Asmo Saloranta's partner's childhood home burnt to the ground because a mobile charger was connected to a wall socket. "It was weird when I started to ask why any mobile phone manufactures haven't created [a charger that doesn't waste electricity] yet," he tells us.
The idea of the charger might have started with that house burning down, but here's the rest of the story. In 2000 when ASMO CEO Asmo Saloranta was 18 years old he started working as a testing engineer at Nokia and later started studying engineering, but never finished his degree. At the time his hobbies were motorcycling and snowmobiling so he started a company for motor sports that ran about six years until he got badly injured in a snowmobile racing accident. The doctors told him he shouldn't hop on any bikes or snowmobiles anymore, which killed his motivation to work in the field.
After getting back on his feet he decided to finish his engineering degree which was almost finished, except for a required Swedish language course. That Swedish course got him back to school and thinking like an engineer again, and one night as he was falling asleep he got the idea for the ASMO charger out of the blue.
To be fair there are some types of "eco chargers" out on the market that don't waste any electricity when nothing is plugged it, but they require you to manually press a button on the wall to turn off the relay. That makes them about as efficient as manually unplugging the charger yourself.
What ASMO does differently is they created a relay in the charger that can turn off the flow of current automatically when a phone is disconnected. The way it works is it initially draws a little bit of power from the device itself. If the device is out of juice, a manual button can also be pressed.
The ASMO charger is now on Kickstarter with a $70,000 goal. So far they've raised $13k with 23 days to go. If you pledge more than $29 you can get an ASMO shipped to your door, or for $49 or above you can get it shipped with a MicroUSB or Apple charger built in.
I'm not sure if ASMO charger is innovating, or just making the world how you would expect it, but they're doing something right. You can find more information on their Kickstarter page.