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Dead battery? Charge your phone using your own body heat

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It’s beyond frustrating when you’re out an about for the day and see or hear that dreaded alert: Low Battery. Unless you have your charger and are willing to sit tight near a public outlet for a while, or you happen to have thought ahead and brought a portable charger, you’re screwed.

A new creation from Vodafone just may help make situations like that a thing of the past. The company developed something called the Power Pocket, which it has built into a line of shorts and sleeping bags — no more worrying about keeping your devices juiced up on your next camping trip! — which it plans to test out this summer, when outdoor festivals are at their peak. The company has a history of staking out festivals, letting people use its Recharge-Trucks, which can service 2,000 devices at the same time. But now, the cord can be cut.

Vodaphone has developed a thermoelectric material that is small enough to be stitched into clothing (or sleeping bag) without adding uncomfortable bulk. Heat from the body is absorbed by the material and converted into voltage that’s able to charge up your device. Or, more accurately, it can give your phone a boost so it doesn’t completely die on you. Stephen Beeby, professor of electronic systems at the University of Southampton, reveals that an eight hour night of sleep charging using the sleeping bag will add around 24 minutes of talk time, if the temperature conditions are just right. 

While the technology may not be entirely perfect, or very efficient yet, it’s a step in the right direction. Someday we may not have to worry about a dead phone as long as we have pockets in our pants.