Magic of physics makes this fridge chill food without fans or electricity

Coolers are big business on Kickstarter, dating back to the multi-function Coolest Cooler, which racked up an epic $13 million in pledges several years ago. Now a new refrigeration system has landed on the popular crowdfunding platform — and it’s missing one big feature. What feature is that? Just a little thing we call the need for electricity!

As a result, the electricity-free, fan-free, air compressor-free Yuma 60L fridge — which runs solely on water — could be useful for both your upcoming camping trip and, potentially, in developing countries or disaster areas where power is in short supply. While it won’t keep your beers as frosty as a standard compression refrigerator, it does promise to retain a “nice and refreshing” temperature level for anything stored in it. And all without needing to be plugged in.

“The Fenik Yuma cooler is a portable food preserver that never needs ice or electricity,” co-founder Jeremy Fryer-Biggs told Digital Trends. “It comes totally flat, and pops up like a tent in under 20 seconds. This allows you to easily take it anywhere. Once assembled, you open the door, place your food inside and activate it by pouring water into the fill-port. The water absorbs heat energy from your food and evaporates through a smart material called PhaseTek, in much the same way that your body cools itself. The result is that your food lasts much longer. Yumas will work anywhere in the world where there isn’t excessive humidity and can be stacked to save space or collapsed again for easy transport.”

Fryer-Biggs said that the germ of the idea behind the project started when one of his co-founders, Quang Truong, was working with farmers in Liberia and Vietnam to improve the productivity of their crops. Witnessing food rotting in the fields and in open air markets, he set about looking for a way to solve a problem — lack of refrigeration — that affects around 1.2 billion people around the world. This adds up to nearly a trillion dollars in wasted productivity and 8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Truong settled on evaporative cooling: based on the observation that when water evaporates, the surface it was on gets colder.

As ever, we offer our usual warnings about the risk inherent in crowdfunding campaigns. However, if you’re aware of these and still wish to get involved, head over to the Fenik Yuma cooler project page for more information. Prices for the cooler (plus handy carrying strap) start at $120. A $250 pledge, meanwhile, will secure a cooler for yourself and provide one to a family in need. Provided the project hits its funding target, shipping should take place in March 2019.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: DIY smartphones and zip-on bike tires

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Home Theater

Google Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra: Everything you need to know

Google's Chromecast plugs into your TV's HDMI port, allowing you to stream content from your tablet, laptop, or smartphone directly to your TV. Here's what you need to know about all iterations, including the 4K-ready Chromecast Ultra.
Emerging Tech

A Fitbit for your cat shit: Automatic litter box tracks your kitty’s health

It may look like a sci-fi teleportation chamber, but Footloose is a high-tech litter box that promises to be the most cutting-edge way for your kitty to take a dump. Here's how it works.
Smart Home

Gas dryers vs. electric dryers: Knowing the difference could save you some dough

Whether you buy an electric dryer or a gas dryer may depend solely on your setup, unless you want to spend money to get a gas hookup for your home. But if you have a choice, there are some differences to take into account.
Emerging Tech

Ekster 3.0 lets you ask, ‘Alexa, where did I leave my wallet?’

Ekster's newest smart wallet is its best yet. It's slimmer than ever, boasts a neat card-dispensing mechanism, and will even let you know where it is, thanks to smart speaker integration.
Emerging Tech

Johns Hopkins’ lab-grown human retina could lead to big insights

Scientists from Johns Hopkins University have successfully grown human retina tissue from scratch in a lab. The work could help with the development of new therapeutics related to eye diseases.
Emerging Tech

Light-swallowing room promises Call of Duty fans the blackest of ops

What's it like to be in a room fully painted with the world's darkest material, Vantablack? The makers of one of the year's top video games teamed up with Vantablack scientists to find out.
Wearables

Skydio’s self-flying drone now has an Apple Watch app for flight prep

Skydio's clever R1 autonomous drone now has its own Apple Watch app, making flight preparations simpler than ever. The $2,000 flying machine is now also selling at its first retail outlet — Apple Stores in North America.
Emerging Tech

Are e-cigarettes safe? Here’s what the most recent science says

Ecigarettes are widely regarded and advertised as a healthier alternative to cigarettes for people who are trying to kick the smoking habit. How safe are these cigarette alternatives? We went deep into the recent scientific literature to…
Emerging Tech

Scientists created a condom that self-lubricates during sex. You’re welcome

Researchers from Boston University have invented a special coating for condoms which make them respond to bodily fluids by becoming more slippery. Here's how their new breakthrough works.
Emerging Tech

You’re so vein: Palm-based biometric system could help confirm your identity

Move over, Face ID! The next biometric security systems could rely on analyzing the unique vein patterns in your palm print. Here are some of the ways the technology could prove useful.
Emerging Tech

For only $4,950, you can get jetpack lessons from the world’s only instructor

Have you ever dreamed of flying using a jetpack? JetPack Aviation founder -- and the world's only qualified jetpack teacher -- David Mayman is now offering a day of flight instruction.
Emerging Tech

Biologists have found a hormone that could make space farming possible

Researchers have shown how space farming may be possible. By encouraging plants to excrete a certain hormone, they’ve demonstrated that crops can thrive despite challenging conditions, such as low-nutrient soil and microgravity.
Emerging Tech

Keep your holiday gift list high tech and under budget with these gadgets

Modern technology doesn't always come cheap, but there plenty of premium devices that don't carry a premium price. Whether you're looking for a streaming device or a means of capturing photos from above, our list of the best tech under $50…