The mercury has risen to insufferable heights this year. And more often than not, the only way to escape the sweltering heat is air conditioning—which, unfortunately, is nonexistent while you’re outdoors pounding the pavement of a concrete inferno. That is, until now: Sony has just unveiled a wearable air conditioner that slips into your pocket and promises to keep you cool even as you slog through the heat.
Dubbed the Reon Pocket, the mini AC reportedly lowers the user’s temperature from 97 degrees to temperate 73 degrees—that’s a chill factor of 23 degrees—using the Peltier effect. Also referred to as the thermoelectric effect, the Peltier effect uses electricity to create a temperature differential across two sides of a device—increasing the temp on one side and decreasing it on the other.
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The inconspicuous device can be controlled via Bluetooth on your smartphone—they’re actually about the same size—and slips easily into a special pocket woven into the back of a bespoke cooling undershirt. (The shirt is available in three sizes: small, medium or large.) Weighing a minuscule three ounces, it’s a far cry from that big ol’ box sitting in your window sill.
The mini AC was successfully crowdfunded through Sony’s First Flight, an e-commerce and crowdfunding program that champions innovation and new business ideas that sit outside the standard development cycles. The company raised well beyond its target of ¥66,000,000 ($607,000), suggesting that the product already has a few fans.
But the best part? The Reon Pocket also has the capability to warm you up 14 degrees. Hopefully, that means it won’t turn into another defunct novelty gadget when the dead of winter arrives. As for these hotter months, there is one bit of bad news: Sony plans to launch the device first in Japan in March 2020—which is cool if you’re going to the Tokyo Olympics, but not so cool if you need relief now.
Sony is reportedly pricing the Reon Pocket Lite—which is controlled manually—at ¥12,760 (roughly $110) and the app-controlled Reon Pocket at ¥14,080 (around $130): It’s a little more than a hands-free fan, but a lot less than your standard air conditioner. The company says that the Reon will be shipped to campaign contributors first. The amount donated and the availability of the product will determine the pecking order. That means that big spenders will likely get the whole caboodle before anyone else, while smaller contributors may have to wait for the shirt.
Check out the video below to see the Reon Pocket in action: