I like it when designers deploy advanced technology to make everyday tasks easier, that’s why this self-coiling extension cord caught my eye. My own collection of extension cords are a perpetual mess; even when I have the time to try to properly coil them, they wind up in a tangle anyway. Texas-based Great Stuff has motorized the coiling process using sensors to wind a 50-ft. cable in 10 seconds.
The RoboReel has a button on its outlet head that users can push to initiate a re-wind. The built-in motor and combo gear rotate the spool at 5 ft. per second. The spool winds the cord in the same pattern every time it retracts, and an internal encoder prevent snap-back by slowing the spool for the last 2 ft. after counting the number of times a magnet on the spool makes a pass.
There are RoboReel models available for power and air cords, as well as water hoses.
According to the company website, CEO and foudner Jim Tracey was inspired to create the RoboReel after hearing his wife complain about struggling with hose reels. He happened to be working on an electric bike project with Lee Iacocca and Malcolm Bricklin at the time, and applied the same motor and battery technology to the hose reel problem.