Japan enjoys a stereotype for producing rather eccentric products and devices and Sony’s latest isn’t exactly helping. Born from its internal crowdfunding platform, the Reon Pocket was revealed last year to be a thermal device you can wear underneath your shirt to keep you cool during these summer days. In other words, it is the world’s first air conditioner that you can wear and, now, also purchase. At least if you’re living in Japan.
You don’t actually wear the Reon Pocket but instead, attach it to an undergarment that you then actually wear. The device, which is as large as a pocket hotspot, rides on your back, right between the shoulder blades, and its purpose is to regulate your body temperature depending on how high or low you need it to be, which, in turn, depends on the weather or season.
The secret to the Reon Pocket’s seemingly magical and also partly absurd capability is the Peltier effect. In a nutshell, it absorbs or releases heat to create warm or cool sensations, respectively. Yes, it is both a wearable air conditioner and a wearable heater in one.
Don’t expect it to cool you throughout the day, though, as the Reon Pocket’s battery only lasts it two hours on a single charge. That’s probably enough for a regular day’s commute to and from work before you have to plug it in for charging via a USB-C cable. The device can be monitored and controlled via an Android or iOS app so you can set just how cold or warm it will make you feel.
Originally intended to coincide with the canceled 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Sony decided to just launch it anyway. The Sony Reon Pocket itself costs 13,000 JPY, roughly $120, and the “exclusive inner wear” that has a built-in pocket for it goes for 1,800 JPY, around $17. Alternatively, you could save that money and sew pockets onto your favorite undershirts. It’s only available in Japan right now with no word on a global launch.