Meet FlameStower. It can charge your iPhone 5 or anything else that connects to a USB port with fire. And unlike the whole, iOS 7 will make your iPhone waterproof thing, this is not a joke. Also, unlike the waterproof iPhone hoax, the basic physics of this check out: fire is pure energy, your iPhone or other gadget needs a modified form of that energy to charge, all you need is a middleman to convert the raw energy of the fire into the more specified energy that can go through a USB port.
FlameStower has nearly met its Kickstarter goal, and one day might be available at REI or RentGear.
“There are times and places when we just need a little bit of charge, and really know way to get it,” says Andy, speaking in FlameStower’s promotional Kickstarter video, who mentions camping and major storms as times you need an extra charge. What FlameStower has over solar or batteries is that it is reliable as long as you have fire.
FlameStower will be an excellent tool for multiday campers. Having a charged phone makes camping much safer, and with this device, you can recharge every night. Its uses for more indoorsy types seem more limited to emergencies.
One wonders if Flamestower’s ability to capture excess heat could have other applications to reduce energy waste. It’s not clear how efficient it is at doing that, but maybe devices like FlameStower could be on our kitchen stoves to provide some “free” energy. Heat waste is so ubiquitous, one wonders what life would be like if we got much better at recapturing it.