Vodafone Sleeping Bag Turns Body Heat Into Clean Energy

This weekend, my little brother is attending the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival for the very first time. In doing so, he continues a proud tradition of festival-going in our family–I attended the inaugural year of Bonnaroo when he was only 9 years-old!

In a crowd of several hundred thousand people, all getting crazy under the fierce Tennessee sun, staying in contact with friends (and worried big sisters) is extremely important. Vodafone, which last summer debuted a recharging truck to enable festival-goers to charge their gadgets, has now come up with an even more convenient solution–a gadget charging sleeping bag.

Vodafone power pocket sleeping bag

Image via Vodafone

Vodafone isn’t a new comer to the music festival circuit, and each season, they seem to try to outdo their own cleverness when it comes to technology aimed at the tent-dweller. We’ve reported on their solar charging umbrella (something that would make you instantly popular at Bonnaroo) and Orange Power Wellies, boots that turn your footfalls into power.

Now, Vodafone has revealed an even more convenient option that requires almost no effort on the user’s part. The Recharge sleeping bag, developed with help from the Electronics and Computer Science Department at the University of Southampton, uses a prototype “Power Pocket” to harvest thermoelectric energy.

“Basically, we’re printing down pairs of what are called ‘thermocouples’,” explains Stephen Beeby, Professor of Electronic Systems, on the Vodafone blog. “You print lots of those down and connect them up to make a thermoelectric module. One side of that is cold and the other is hot, and when you get a flow of heat through it you can create a voltage and a current. Voltage and current together equals electrical power.”

Stephen claims that eight hours of sleep in the bag will provide 24 minutes of talk time and 11 hours of standby time. The Recharge sleeping bag (and the sure to be popular Power Shorts) will be tested at The Isle of Wight Festival and others throughout the summer.

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog