Sony creates mini air-conditioner that fits in your pocket

Reon Pocket by Sony

Sony Corporation is crowdfunding a miniature air-conditioner about the size of a smartphone that can provide some relief from the scorching heat – or at least reduce unsightly sweat stains – that can also be used as a mini heater for colder climates.

The Reon Pocket is a Bluetooth-controlled device that pairs with a smartphone for temperature controls and fits into a special undershirt which has a pocket on the user's back, just below the neck.

On the product site, Sony says it has run experiments that show it can cool down ambient temperature around the user's body by 13°C, while its heater function is claimed to be able to raise ambient temperatures by about 8°C.

"Because it is both cold and hot, it is possible to adjust the temperature according to the season and place," the company says.

The Reon Pocket's Project leader Yoichi Ito has been with Sony Corporation since 2007 where he was involved in software development for home audio products and wireless devices, before exploring wearable tech combined with fashion in 2017, leading to the creation of the Reon Pocket.

According to its FAQ, the device is designed to reduce the risk of low temperature burns and coated with silicon material to make it comfortable. The device itself is not waterproof but the company says waterproof sealing is applied on the parts that come into contact with the user's skin.

The device measures 54x20x116mm and weighs 85g, with a battery life of 24 hours and charges in two hours. It can connect to iOS and Android devices, but only one unit can be connected to one smartphone at a time.

The Reon pocket has two versions: a light version that can only be controlled manually via a paired smartphone, and a standard version that also allows for air volume control and an auto adjusting mode that regulates ambient temperature according to a preset range.

The light version with the special shirt costs 12,760 yen (RM484), while the standard version with a shirt costs 14,080 yen (RM534).

Since being listed on Sony's First Flight crowdfunding site, the device has raised more than 31.31mil yen (RM1.18mil) from 1,881 supporters, or about 47% of its 66mil yen (RM2.5mil) target with 23 days to go for the campaign, which is slated to end on Aug 19.

Should it hit its funding target, the product is expected to be launched by March 2020. However, it is only available in Japan for now.

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