Camping can be a lot of fun, but in his master plan, God forgot to provide ample naturally occurring power outlets and USB ports outside. So the next best thing might be PowerPot, a camping device that generates enough electricity while boiling water to power a USB port to keep your phone charged up so you can tweet and Instagram your nature adventure.
The PowerPot uses thermoelectric generation to create its electricity. The process itself isn’t new, and though it’s only recently become viable it’s not through any advance in the charging technology. Instead, it’s the fact that modern devices can subsist on low wattages, down around 5 watts, that can make this kind of charging possible.
Although it may sound a little pointless at first, PowerPot has a huge number of applications. It’s way more reliable than solar power, making it optimal for charging or power devices at night. Beyond charge, it provides the necessary function of a pot, making it a zero-cost proposition to use the PowerPot instead of a normal one (assuming you have a PowerPot). Making it even more zero-cost to use is the fact that using PowerPot to generate some electricity isn’t going to diminish the other uses of your fire as lighting or warmth. PowerPot just makes use of what would be waste heat otherwise.
Obviously this could be helpful for hikers or campers who just need to stay connected, but the really important application would be for those in developing countries where cellphone use is more widespread than reliable access to electricity, the latter requiring significant, expensive infrastructure; power lines don’t just grow. Many of these people already make fires for cooking, and the PowerPot would allow them to get bonus electricity with no added trouble.
If you want one of these magical modern devices, there’s a Kickstarter page, aiming to raise $50,000 in funding to put the PowerPot into production. And if you pledge at least $99, you’ll get one when they do roll off the line.