A while back to wrote about the Orange Power Wellies, a set of wellies that harvested energy from the heat generated from the bottom of your foot. Well one of Oranges main competitors in the UK, Vodafone, has made their own product around the same idea. It’s called the Vodafone Power Pocket.
Essentially, the Power Pocket uses what’s called the Seebeck effect, which basically uses the difference between the human body and the temperature of the surroundings to generate electricity. This electricity, in turn, can be used to charge a phone. The idea could definitely be used for other things, but as Vodafone is a phone company it’s currently only being used to charge smartphones.
The team behind the technology is based at University of Southampton’s Electronic and Computer Science Department.
The Power Pocket comes in two different models. The first is built into a sleeping bag, which can be used to charge electronics while you’re sleeping, and the second is built into a pair of shorts, which can be used during the day. Potentially, the design could also be used in other models, such as
While the idea certainly is a cool one, currently it doesn’t seem to be a viable solution to charging your phone because of the fact that 8 hours of sleep in the sleeping bag model will charge the phone for around 24 minutes of talk, and that’s assuming that the temperature inside the sleeping bag is 99 degrees, and the temperature outside the sleeping bag is 50 degrees.
Despite the fact that it might not be a viable solution for everyday charging, the Power Pocket is currently supposed to be used at events like music festivals, and the technology is still very much in development, so it could get a lot better over the next couple of years. Steve Beeby, one of the professors behind the technology estimates that over the next decade or so, the technology used with the Seebeck effect will be more integrated into our clothes.