We all want to disconnect from our mobile devices sometimes and escape outside. But during every camping trip, a sunset is begging to be posted on Instagram or a trail is too hard to navigate without GPS. But the great outdoors is devoid of outlets to recharge, leaving us with battery-zapped devices.
FlameStower harnesses fire to charge your battery. The device is comprised of a USB port, small stand, container for water and flat end to put over the fire; it uses a thermoelectric process to charge small mobile devices. The temperature difference creates energy because the higher voltage of the flame helps send electricity to the lower voltage of the water (the colder component).
The electricity then flows to your device through the USB and adds some extra power. The gadget works with any small mobile device that can connect with a USB wire. You can easily fold the device’s legs in and collapse the container that holds the water for easy transportation; users can put the flat end over a flame such as a stove or a campfire.
One of the most common places to use the device is the outdoors, where the FlameStower team argues that a mobile device can actually heighten your experience with nature.
“You go there to escape but at the same time you might use your electronics to help you escape,” said Jason McGowin, FlameStower’s VP of sales and marketing. “You might use your phone for navigation, for GPS, for information on where you’re hiking. At the same time, you might want to have a phone if there is ever an emergency situation.”
For every minute of charge time, a cellphone can get about three minutes of talk time. At only 7.5 inches long and 2.25 inches wide, the device is also relatively easy to transport.
It’s also multifunctional; a video on its Kickstarter page shows a user heating water in a small pot while charging a phone at the same time. That makes it even more convenient for campers who need to recharge with some food while their phones power up.
“FlameStower is actually the only charger that works while cooking over any heat source,” co-founder Andrew Byrnes wrote in an email to Mashable. “We’ve charged while cooking oatmeal, steaks, bacon, s’mores.”
At the time of writing, the gadget’s Kickstarter exceeded its initial $15,000 goal by more than $20,000. The Kickstarter campaign ends Oct. 24 and backers that give $80 or more can get one of the first FlameStowers.
Those who pledge $100 or more also get a new FlameStower, but their money goes to support Alex Odundo, an engineer in Kenya who builds affordable harvesting machines that benefit small farms. The FlameStower team hopes to help Odundo keep up with high demand for the product by using the proceeds of each $100 pledge to develop an innovation center and buy basic equipment.