Boil Water & Top Up Your Cellphone

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Tokyo: A Japanese company has come up with a new way to charge your mobile phone after a natural disaster or in the great outdoors — by heating a pot of water over a campfire.

The Hatsuden-Nabe thermo-electric cookpot turns heat from boiling water into electricity that feeds via a USB port into digital devices such as smartphones, music players and global positioning systems.

Chief executive Kazuhiro Fujita said the invention was inspired by Japan’s March 11 earthquake and tsunami. “When I saw TV footage of the quake victims making a fire to keep themselves warm, I came up with the idea of helping them to charge their mobile phones at the same time,” he said.

The pot features strips of ceramic thermoelectric material that generate electricity through temperature differentials between the 550° Celsius at the bottom of the pot and the water boiling inside at 100°.

The company says the device takes three to five hours to charge an iPhone and can heat up your lunch at the same time.