Modular system lets you build your perfect power strip

March 1, 2016
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The great thing about power strips is that they let us run a bunch of devices despite a limited number of wall outlets. The bad thing about power strips is that that’s all they do.

And I didn’t even know that that was a downside, but I’ve just found out about Youmo, an upcoming product that makes every power strip I own look like complete garbage. I am absolutely exaggerating there; my power strips are both useful and attractive. But this new thing looks incredibly cool, too.

Youmo is running a Kickstarter campaign to go into production. It’s almost doubled its goal already, and it’s easy to see why. You can pick from a variety of snap-together modules to build exactly the power hub you want. So far, the options include three- and five-socket power bricks for the EU and US, respectively; single-plug units with two built-in USB ports; a four-port USB hub; a wireless charger; and an Internet of Things-compatible “smart module” that will talk to a companion app to let you control the devices you plug into it.

The designers also have a few more blocks on the way, but they aren’t currently available through the Kickstarter campaign. Future expansions will add a wireless speaker, a light, surge protection, an Ethernet plug, a Wi-Fi range extender, a smart-home sensor, a security function that will let you “unobtrusively surveil your space via infrared or ultrasound detection methods,” and a single-outlet socket that is compatible with any plug in the world.

We really like the idea of Youmo because it lets owners customize their power needs for each room. So maybe you want a bunch of USB ports by your desk for charging your phone and tablet, but you need more outlets for your living room and want to throw on a surge protector to keep your TV and gaming consoles safe. Youmo should let you craft exactly the hub you need based on where it’s going and what it needs to do.

Backers can currently score an early-bird starter set through the crowdfunding page for about $30, and that will get you a base cord and two modules. The campaign is running until April 3, and the makers expect to ship early next year.

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