A watched pot never boils, but it can charge your smartphone

PowerPot with cord

Ever hear of thermoelectric power? That’s OK, you don’t have to know how it actually works to use it. You just need a way to turn heat into energy and that’s exactly what the PowerPot does: boiling water in this special receptacle will actually charge up your phone, tablet or any other USB-powered handheld device.

The $149 PowerPot works with any heat source, so you don’t need a special stove: Electric (although that would be silly, no?), gas or a plain old fire will do the trick because you’re just boiling water. The bottom of the PowerPot transforms heat energy into electrical power. A plug-in cord attached to the pot funnels that energy through a USB 2.0 cord and regulator:

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I could have used a PowerPot a few months back when Hurricane Sandy hit the area. We lost power for nearly five days even though the cellular networks were still up and running nearby.

Our home uses propane for heat and cooking — we have a 1,000 gallon tank buried in the yard — so we were able to cook and heat water. With a PowerPot, we could have turned some of that water into gadget juice. And although I’d use one in the home, I can see others finding value on camping trips and such.

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