Spark uses heat and cold differential to generate electricity to power phones

jikopower spark heat powered generator
What works on camping trips can also be useful during disasters and in emerging markets. The JikoPower Spark is a lightweight, portable thermoelectric generator (TEG) that converts waste heat into electricity that can be used to charge and power USB devices. The Spark is currently in a Kickstarter campaign that also focuses on its work in Kenya to bring power to an area where cell phones are common but electricity is not, according to GeekWire.

JikoPower’s goal is to provide people electric power to save energy from other sources, to light their homes, and to stay connected. The company works with communities of rural entrepreneurs to help them save costly kerosene and the time they would ordinarily spend walking to town to charge their cellphones. For some people, that can save up to 12 hours a week and $27 a month in kerosene. They can also make money by letting others use the Spark for a fee to charge their phones.

The JikoPower Spark is useful for campers who no longer have to carry batteries when they go backcountry and still be prepared for emergencies. During power outages, the JikoPower generator can help people stay connected and call for emergency relief.

The Spark works via an embedded thermoelectric chip that converts heat to electricity. The greater the difference in temperature on the two sides of the chip, the more electricity is created. A heat probe extended into a fire transfers heat to one side of the chip. A reservoir filled with water keeps one side of the chip relatively cool. Even if the water is boiling, its temperature can be lower the metal arm facing a fire or stove, so electricity can still be generated. The Spark has a heat tolerance of up to 600-degrees Centigrade (1,112 Fahrenheit) and a power output of two to five watts. The Spark can charge cell phones, LED lights, and other small devices.

Emerging Tech

Global Good wants to rid the world of deadly diseases with lasers and A.I.

Global Good, a collaboration between Intellectual Ventures and Bill Gates, aims to eradicate diseases that kill children in developing nations. It tackles difficult problems with high-tech prototypes.
Mobile

These 13 gadgets walk a fine line between ingenious and insane

The annual avalanche of devices and gadgets is astounding, but how many will succeed? A few are destined to spark new trends, while the majority fade deservedly into obscurity. We look at some gadgets on the border of brilliant and bonkers.
Product Review

Bigger battery and folding top add appeal, but BMW’s i8 remains ultra-niche

Want a high-performance vehicle that's more than just a frightening driving experience? Desire the look and feel of a sports car with the road manners of a luxury commuter? The BMW i8 is for you.
Smart Home

The best oven ranges, whether you’re a chef or just need to heat up a pizza

Finding an oven that is right for you is hard. Whether you're a novice looking for an entry-level gas oven or a master chef looking to upgrade to the best, here are some of the best oven ranges available now.
Outdoors

Shark attack: Drone-based research may help ease swimmers’ fears

Researchers in Australia have used drones to try to learn more about what kinds of sea creatures come close the shore, and their findings may go some way to easing the fears of swimmers worried about shark attacks.
Mobile

Alphabet’s Verily is reportedly working on shoes that can track your weight

Fitness tracking is getting increasingly important, but while the likes of Apple are working on fitness-tracking watches, Alphabet's Verily is turning to shoes. According to a report, Verily is working on shoes that can track your weight.
Outdoors

Strava joins Slopes to record your ski and snowboard stats

Skiers and snowboarders can now share their activity on the hill within their Strava profile thanks to a new collaboration with the fitness-tracking app and Slopes, an app designed for use on the hill.
Deals

The best budget-friendly GoPro alternatives that won’t leave you broke

Cold weather is here, and a good action camera is the perfect way to record all your adventures. You don't need to shell out the big bucks for a GoPro: Check out these great GoPro alternatives, including some 4K cameras, that won’t leave…
Deals

REI slashes prices on The North Face, Columbia, and Nike clearance Items

It's never too early to plan your next adventure and REI is your one-stop shop to get you prepared. Now until February 18, REI is offering up to 50 percent off on camp gear, outerwear, winter boots, and lifestyle footwear. Find discounts…
Deals

REI drops prices on Suunto, Fitbit, and Garmin Fenix smartwatches

Looking for some great deals on outdoor and fitness watches? Garmin, Fitbit, and Suunto smartwatches have all been discounted for a limited time during the REI Winter Clearance Sale.
Emerging Tech

Tokyo 2020 is on track to create Olympic medals with recycled electronics

The committee behind the Tokyo 2020 Olympics revealed that it is on target to be able to forge all winning athletes’ gold, silver and bronze medals from recycled electronic waste.
Outdoors

Skullcandy turns to action sports with the Vert Bluetooth earbuds

The new Skullcandy Vert Bluetooth earbuds are designed with action sports athletes in mind, putting audio controls on a convenient dial that provides glove-friendly options to pause and play music, and adjust volume.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Hi-viz bike reflectors and a tiny flashlight

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!
Outdoors

Uber’s bikesharing service is eating into its regular business

A bikesharing service acquired by Uber nearly a year ago is causing riders to take fewer car journeys with the company. It is, however, part of the plan as Uber looks to offer an integrated mobility platform for cities.