If you’ve been struggling to cope with the summer heat during the past few days, you’ll be happy to know Sony has conjured up a wearable that functions like a portable air conditioner. About a year after its first reveal, it is now available to purchase.
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The Reon Pocket is designed to slip in a special pouch on the underside of a tailor made shirt. From there it blows cold air down your neck via a process called thermoelectric cooling.
The unit is very compact and lightweight (85 grams), about the size of a credit card, so is hardly noticeable. Sony says during testing it reduced the wearers back temperature about 13 degrees Celsius (23 degrees Fahrenheit). Perfect for keeping chill in heatwaves!
When it’s cold outside, you can use it to increase the temperature by more than 8 degrees Celsius (about 14 degrees Fahrenheit). All of this can vary depending on the person Sony says.
“Reduce the discomfort due to various temperatures such as hot summer outings, crowded train heat, cold winter outings, etc., and get comfortable in summer and winter,” the company explains.
The Bluetooth-enabled unit adjusts to the desired temperature automatically on the fly. You also have the option of doing this manually, through the app. This offers four different levels of cooling or heating.
Unlike traditional AC units, the thing uses something called the “Peltier effect” to function. This essentially means that a material absorbs or emits heat when an electrical current is passed across a junction.
The small size of Reon Pocket means battery life is not that great. About two hours is all you get between charges via a USB Type-C port. So a portable power bank might be useful for those afternoons out in the sun.
The wearable was first offered through Sony’s First Flight crowdfunding program in Japan last summer. The platform allows the company to assess whether there is enough interest to take a concept from idea to real-world product stage.
The campaign has been a success and the wearable is now on general sale. It seems that, all along, the plan was to launch it in time for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Unfortunately, the sport event has been postponed due to COVID-19.
Sony has priced the Reon Pocket AC at 13,000 Yen (around $120). For now it is only available in Japan but international availability should hopefully follow soon.
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