A mobile air-conditioner for when out and about

Caroline Zöller

Published on 18.12.2019

Reon Pocket, a product made by the Japanese start-up innovation programme “First Flight” by Sony, is a palm-sized device that weighs a mere 85g and takes on the challenge of hot days. The pocket-sized air-conditioning unit cools by utilizing the thermo-electric cooling effect. Thankfully, this means that you can do without mini-fans and damp cloths in the back of your neck to cool you down because, according to Sony, the device is able to reduce temperatures by up to 13°C. Alternatively, the device can also to be used as a heater to increase the temperature, in this instance by approximately 8°C.

The mini-cooling device is controlled by Bluetooth via an iOS or Android app, enabling you to adapt the temperature automatically (using sensors) or manually, depending on the model. The average battery charging time with a USB-C connection is around two hours, giving you approx. 90 minutes of permanent cooling. By using the power-saving mode, running times of up to 24 hours are possible.

Alongside the pocket-sized air-conditioner, Sony also offers a special shirt with a small pocket between the shoulder blades to go with it. You simply plug in the air-conditioner which is optimally placed in the nape of your neck. The device is completely invisible when in the shirt. This is a real benefit for business people who have to adhere to a strict dress code in summer and are out and about in long-sleeved shirts, even in the hottest of weather.

This video explains how the device works.

Together, the device and shirt cost between 100 and 160 US$. It is not possible, however, to place any advance orders for the foreseeable future due to the current high demand. Sony plans to bring the Reon Pocket to the Japanese market in time for the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. If the launch is successful, the device will also be available in other countries in future.

Portable devices that control temperature are also being developed by other companies, e.g. Embr Labs. The company manufactures bracelets which can have a cooling or warming effect as the wearer desires. Heated garments are frequently used in the field of multi-function clothing, items such as a thermal blanket for wearing under ski-jackets. Because it is so small and unobtrusive, the Reon Pocket might be a successful and yet discreet step in the right direction towards combatting the heat.

Image and video: Sony