Idea

Camping just got a little more fun — meet the water-powered USB charger

Award-winning OCAD University industrial design student Jesse Cowan created Coast, one of the coolest industrial design projects at GradEx

“This is why I love design. It didn’t exist and now it does — I love being creative and making something real."

Photo of water-powered USB charger, Coast, being towed behind a canoe
Coast, the water-powered USB charger in action
Photo of James Cowan, Industrial Design OCAD grad
James Cowan, creator of Coast, OCAD 2015

Industrial design student Jesse Cowan has solved a problem.

There’s been a boom in enabled gear for outdoor adventurers — Bluetooth fish-finders connected to your phone, Bluetooth speakers and tons of maps and mobile apps for hiking and camping. But how do you charge your devices when you’re off the grid?

Jesse’s created Coast, a USB charger that you toss into the water and clip to your boat. As the charger floats and is pulled in the water, the spinning powers a kinetic turbine. The 7,000 mAh battery can charge your iPhone five times over.

“This is why I love design. It didn’t exist and now it does — I love being creative and making something real” said Jesse. He loves outdoor adventure and noticed there wasn’t anything on the market that could power his gear with water. “It’s a step forward for people to produce our own energy. It’s industrial product design with a meaning.”

Jesse manufactured Coast himself, including using a 3D printer to create the device’s shell. He grew up in Toronto but initially studied anthropology and sociology at Concordia University in Montreal. After first year, he transferred to OCAD University to study industrial design.

Coast won an Umbra Award for industrial design at Grad Ex and Jesse has joined OCAD U's Imagination Catalyst start-up incubator.




Photo of water-powered USB charger, Coast, being towed behind a canoe
Photo of James Cowan, Industrial Design OCAD grad

Industrial design student Jesse Cowan has solved a problem.

There’s been a boom in enabled gear for outdoor adventurers — Bluetooth fish-finders connected to your phone, Bluetooth speakers and tons of maps and mobile apps for hiking and camping. But how do you charge your devices when you’re off the grid?

Jesse’s created Coast, a USB charger that you toss into the water and clip to your boat. As the charger floats and is pulled in the water, the spinning powers a kinetic turbine. The 7,000 mAh battery can charge your iPhone five times over.

“This is why I love design. It didn’t exist and now it does — I love being creative and making something real” said Jesse. He loves outdoor adventure and noticed there wasn’t anything on the market that could power his gear with water. “It’s a step forward for people to produce our own energy. It’s industrial product design with a meaning.”

Jesse manufactured Coast himself, including using a 3D printer to create the device’s shell. He grew up in Toronto but initially studied anthropology and sociology at Concordia University in Montreal. After first year, he transferred to OCAD University to study industrial design.

Coast won an Umbra Award for industrial design at Grad Ex and Jesse has joined OCAD U's Imagination Catalyst start-up incubator.