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Smartphone charging over an open fire

Boiling a pot of water is an activity that practically anybody can relate to. Doing so to charge a gadget, not so much...yet.

Fuel up and charge at the same time.
Fuel up and charge at the same time.
The PowerPot

Finally, a way to put that boiling pot of water to some good use besides making a box of mac and cheese.

The PowerPot is a Kickstarter project that looks to heat things up by adding the ability to charge gadgets while the pot is over a heat source. The heat source can be an open fire, a camping stove, or even a natural hot spring. What is important is that the liquid inside the pot is colder than the heat source. It is this temperature difference that is used to generate the energy necessary to power small gadgets.

The kit has the potential to make a big impact; it consists of a lid, a voltage regulator, and a vessel with a rather conspicuous cable snaking out of its side. With 5 watts of output and a USB interface, the product is designed to supply the power necessary to charge devices anywhere. The regulator cable is sheathed in a heat-resistant silicone fiberglass protective layer, and the whole package is rated to withstand heat up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit.

The potential applications for this portable thermal electric generator go far beyond kitchens and campsites. With no moving parts and basic science at its heart, the generator is a neat idea worthy of some attention. The Kickstarter page belonging to creators by David Toledo and Paul Slusser is complemented by their own Web site for the PowerPot that has in-depth information as to how the technology works.

(Via Oh Gizmo)