"Hey pops, the times are a-changing," suggests the sparse website. "Gone are the days when you could impress the friends with your old oak rocking-chair."
Enter the iRock: billed as the first-ever power-generating rocking chair, Zürich's Micasa Lab has updated the classic rocker with a tech twist: "As long as you rock, you charge you iPad or your iPhone."
We have added... a generator that transforms the movement into power. We have equipped the iRock with an iPad stand and a set of built-in speakers in the back rest. Over the last couple years, we have come to depend on an increasing amount of technical gadgets...
The iRock is a product that explores how furniture can interact with technology and actually support the power for this technology. Movement is energy and to collect as much of this energy as possible is one of our future challenges. The laws of physics dictate how movement and friction constantly creates a vast amount of energy that in most cases is lost. iRock is a attempt to collect some of this energy and put it to real use. If you use iRock for 60 minutes you can recharge an iPad 3 to 35%.
The iRock is set at a "pleasant 37° rocking angle," allowing for a generous range of motion in generating power, which can be stored in a built-in battery for later use; I assume that the 25W speakers are also rock-powered.
The main challenge was to get the generator working efficient. After trying out several designs we finally got it right and with a set of gears we're now able to get sufficient power to charge the built in battery that in it's turn are charging the iPad/iPhone. A concept we were working on for quite some time was the use of rubber bands and springs to increase the effect of the movement but we ended up with a solution using a winding mechanism that is geared up to run the generator.
The iRock is crafted from Swedish oak and will be in available in five different colors for the not-insubstantial retail price of either $1300 and €1800—both figures appear on the site, either way, it's probably only viable if you're in a particularly outage-prone area (or off the grid entirely)... or you really like rocking chairs.