Japan is Testing USB Charging Stations on its Buses

Why it matters to you

As we spend more time on the go (and on our phones), mobile charging stations will become increasingly important.

The ability to charge your mobile device is going mobile. Japan, a nation well known for its rather wacky technological innovations (remember their robot hotel appropriately named “Hotel Strange“?), is now debuting something decidedly within the realm of reason — USB charging stations within public transportation.

Compatible with both phones and tablets, these free charging stations have recently been spotted by commuters desperate to have their smartphones last until their stop. Currently, it seems as though the power stations are only available on a single bus in the Tokyo area, and as of yet, Japan’s Bureau of Transportation has not made an official announcement on whether more buses will soon get the same treatment. Thus far, however, it seems as though the wall-mounted chargers have been very popular.

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We ought to point out that as useful an innovation as this is, it’s not a particularly novel one. Last year, London outfitted a few of their own public transportation systems with USB chargers, and Singapore did the same with wall-mounted phone chargers on nearly a dozen of their own buses. In New York, while there are not opportunities for mobile charging (yet), you can stop by any one of the LinkNYC kiosks to quickly juice up your device.

Of course, as we grow ever more dependent upon our mobile devices (and ever more mobile), having opportunities to charge these extensions of ourselves will become increasingly important. While Japan, London, and Singapore appear to be anticipating this need, it seems that it will only be a matter of time before other cities jump on the bandwagon, and start offering the people what they really want — a way to always be connected. Even if that means being connected to the wall of a bus for a few minutes.