Last year, Sony released the Reon Pocket in Japan, a wearable personal cooling and warming device. The next-generation model, Reon Pocket 2, has a redesigned drive circuit that doubles the “endothermic performance” of its predecessor.
As noted in our 2020 coverage of the original version, Sony designed a special undergarment to hold the Reon Pocket in place against the upper spine. The company envisioned business people commuting in the humid Japanese summers purchasing this undergarment to stay cool and fresh under office attire. For generation two, Sony has added an exclusive neckband as well as opening the device up to licensing by other clothing companies.
An officially licensed garment will bear a “Reon Pocket Certified” logo, indicating that the garment’s design facilitates the device’s intake and exhaust requirements. Black fabrics and other colors that absorb sunlight won’t make it as official Reon wear.
The Reon Pocket 2, controlled via a Bluetooth-connected smartphone app, relies on the Peltier effect to operate. This term describes a thermoelectric dynamic in a dual-conductor circuit in which heat is generated at one junction and absorbed at the other junction. That means users can select either the heating side or the cooling side of the device to rest against their skin. An exhaust fan deploys when using the cooling function to dissipate unwanted warmth.
The latest version also features improved sweat resistance, expanding the device’s use beyond a business setting to include light exercise, such as golf. Sony admits the Reon Pocket 2 performs better when connected to a USB charger than by battery alone. Hopefully, the company’s engineers can solve this issue before releasing the third generation.
Researchers in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Keio University School of Medicine in Tokyo are currently studying the Reon Pocket 2 in a healthcare context. Sony has put out a call for additional companies and research partners in healthcare.