For those times when the outdoors is too hot or too cold, the easiest way to find respite is to dash inside. But what if that's not an option? Sony thinks it has the answer with the Reon Pocket air conditioner, which it's crowdfunding through its own First Flight acceleration program.
The Reon Pocket can't work magic and keep you in a perfectly chilled or heated bubble all day, but it might make a noticeable difference on the hottest and coldest days. Designed to fit inside the back of a specially designed t-shirt, it can lower your personal temperature by 13° C (23° F), or raise it by a little over 8° C (14° F).
It does this through what's known as the Peltier effect, where an electric current can be used to heat or cool something when combined with specific materials. For now, temperature control is handled via a phone app, but Sony is looking into adding an automatic mode in the future.
According to the Reon Pocket listing information, it's already been extensively tested and is designed to avoid any nasty burns on your back, provided you use the customized t-shirt provided. Based on the testimonies of people who've already tried it out, it does the trick as well.
It can't be washed with your clothes though, and it's not waterproof. Only one unit can be connected per smartphone too, in case you were thinking about strapping a dozen of these to your body during peak summer.
One issue might be battery life, apparently the Reon Pocket is only good for two hours between recharges (via USB-C). That isn't going to be enough to keep you nicely chilled or warmed up for the whole day, but it could do for your commute to and from the office.
And bad news if you're actually wanting to buy one of these, because it looks like it's exclusive to Japan for the time being. The project has now met its crowdfunding goal, but the device isn't expected to be on sale until March 2020, and then only in Japan.
At least the price is relatively affordable, at ¥12,760 (about US$117). If an international edition ever does appear, it might be inexpensive enough to appeal to the masses.
With 4,200 backers at the time of writing, it seems that personal air conditioning control is something a lot of us are interested in investing in. You can see more about how the Reon Pocket works in the official promo video below.
Source: Sony First Flight
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