We may be in the grips of winter in South Africa – unless you live in Durban where it is always summer – but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be ready to prepare for when it gets hot again. And while you can prepare for indoors through air-conditioners, its when you are outdoors that it can be difficult to cool down from the heat.
Which is why Sony decided to make a wearable one through its start-up incubator First Flight. The Reon Pocket (as revealed by The Verge) is a fairly slim palm-sized white plastic device (that weighs about 80 grams) that charges over USB-C and connects to your iOS or Android phone with Bluetooth. There’s a silicone pad on the back that you can press against your skin which then makes us of the Peltier effect to cool or warm itself up by absorbing and releasing heat. You can use it handheld, but the most widely promoted use cases involve buying Sony’s special V-neck undershirts with a pocket on the inner back to keep the device resting between your shoulder blades.
Sony’s marketing suggests that it can reduce your body surface temperature by 13°C, which is pretty impressive and definitely needed on some of those hot days we get in sunny SA. Though if you live in the Karoo, you will probably want to wear two or three of these to get your body to cool down.
As for the app, there are three levels of cooling or warming, plus an additional boost mode that is limited to two minutes and control for the speed of the “fan.” There are also automatic modes that kick in whenever you turn the device on with its own power button rather than using the app. It lasts around 2-3 hours on a charge, depending on the intensity of your settings.
It’s an interesting idea that is definitely something I can see being very useful in hot weather, though needing to buy 5 different branded Sony shirts for each day of the week and with a short battery time, its unlikely to be used for regular wear and probably more for a specific occasion. The device is selling for 13,000 yen (R2000) in Japan with the undershirts selling for 1,800 yen (R300). At those prices being cool will definitely not be cheap.
It’s not clear if and when Sony will bring this out globally.
Last Updated: July 28, 2020