Charge your iPhone in this Filipino-designed futuristic pedicab

What is a pedicab without its distinctly low-tech design? One Filipino designer gave it a makeover for the global stage as he turned the non-motorized transport into a classy, modern number.

Named Eclipse, the design by Kenneth Cobonpue boasts of an iPhone docking base, speakers, cup holders, and cooling fans within its moon-like recesses. It retains the original open design, but panels on either side of the pedicab can be pulled down for added privacy. A cover of acrylic fabric can also be drawn around it to protect passengers from puddles and rainshowers.

Called a "more civilized version of the humble three-wheeler" by Cobonpue, the new pedicab was designed with urban centers in mind. Such foot-powered vehicles are known as "rickshaws" in US cities where their drivers usually ferry around tourists, a far cry from the common commuter conveyance in the Philippines.

The pedicab makeover has been featured in Fast Company and the Washington Post, among other publications. The latter noted that unlike rickshaws, Cobonpue's contraption placed the driver on the side, as if that was an innovation. But that's how it's always been in the Philippines.

“The most challenging aspect is getting people to rethink their traditional modes of transportation," Cobonpue told Co. Design.

21st century rickshaw by @KENNETHCOBONPUE comes w/iPhone dock, speakers, cup holders & a fan

— designboom (@designboom) February 24, 2014

The pedicab used lightweight materials such as aluminum and polythylene for its frame, and waterproof, hand-stitched faux leather. An alumnus of the prestigious US design school Pratt Institute, the Cebu native consciously used environmentally-friendly materials to future-proof his wares.

Pedicabs are not exclusive to the Philippines, as events such as South by Southwest in Austin, Texas employs more than 500 pedicabbies to transport passengers to various locations. According to Forbes, pedicabbies in this event can earn as much as $2000 to $3000 in the festival's two-week period, earning more than enough to cover their rental for the units they drive.

Cobonpue's team even offered to re-design the unpopular Ninoy Aquino International Airport for free in 2013. His offer was initially turned down, but was eventually accepted.

Their design aims to turn around the airport's notorious reputation for being one of the worst airports in the world, a dubious distinction the airport has earned twice in the past three years. — TJD/HS, GMA News

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