The Bracketron, A Robotic Power-Sucking Vampire Symbiote… Kinda

This is the Bracketron, a robot which will help you fill out your NCAA tournament charts. Not really. The Bracketron is in fact a robot which will help you put up shelves that won’t fall down as soon as you place something breakable up there.

NOT REALLY AGAIN. The Bracketron is a USB charger which leeches its power from an outlet that is already in use. Which actually makes it better than my first two lies… Except for the robot part.

Back before the all-day iPad was invented, and laptop computers still had removable batteries that only lasted for a couple of hours, I learned one valuable lesson when I attended my first tech trade show: take a multi-way plug adapter with you.

My first show was the 2000s-era Mobile World Congress, then called 3GSM (a naming mistake that was as foolish as calling your business “20th Century [something]”), and the press lounge was little more than a roped-off corner section with a coffee bar, some ethernet cables and what seemed like one single Wi-Fi router for everyone to share. And the terrible internet access wasn’t even the worst part. The worst part was the lack of power sockets.

Enter the plug-doubler. When all the sockets are used, even the most Scroogian humbug of a curmudgeon wouldn’t refuse the request that you quickly unplug them and then share the socket via your own little splitter. You might even make friends, or use this opportunity to hit on a hot guy or gal (hint: it doesn’t work. I tried).

Or you could use the Bracketron. It’s a USB charger with a fold-out flap that mimics the pattern of holes on a wall-socket. You push the prongs of another gadget’s plug through these holes, and then plug into the wall as usual. It’s ingenious, and it enables the sharing of a wall-hole without carrying any extra hardware.

The only problem is that you’re limited to a single USB output, and that you can’t use it on its own: you need to form a symbiotic relationship with a Dell power brick.
If you’re playing along at home, I’d recommend the PlugBug instead, which adds a USB port and a host of international plugs to your MacBook charger, and does it for $45. Yes, the Bracketron is just $15, but it’s also pretty useless. Apart from the whole robot/shelves/basketball thing.

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Charlie Sorrel Charlie Sorrel is the Reviews Editor here on Cult of Mac. Follow Charlie  on Twitter at @mistercharlie.

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