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This Gadget Charges Your Phone With Fire

A new device uses heat from any fire to produce electricity

smithsonian.com

Sometimes it’s nice to unplug and get away from it all. But just because you’re not connected to the internet doesn’t mean you won’t use your smartphone. It can be a flashlight, for lighting the way; a map and and a compass, for navigating; or a camera, for capturing scenic vistas. But if you need power to get home and that ever-important battery starts to wane, suddenly the wonder tool can seem rather useless.

There are options for recharging in the field, from hand-cracked chargers to portable solar cells. But a new device that just cleared its Kickstarter funding goal has a different take. The FlameStower, says Laughing Squid, uses the heat from a fire to generate electricity.

According to the FlameStower team, “The FlameStower Fire Charger works with the energy of your cooking or camp fires. Once the blade is in a fire, the thermal energy is transferred to the Thermoelectric Generator (TEG). The opposite surface of the TEG is in contact with the water reservoir – hot side gets hot, cold side stays relatively cool, and the temperature difference generates electricity.”

This isn’t the first portable device designed to produce electricity from fire—there’s also a purpose-built cooking stove or a small fuel cell. While the FlameStower is geared towards outdoor enthusiasts, there are other uses for these sorts of chargers, too. They could be useful during natural disasters, particularly for responders who drain their batteries finding their way, keeping in touch and documenting damage, or in countries without well-developed electrical systems.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Kickstarter Works Best for Game Designers
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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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