There are oh-so-many reasons to love summer. The long sunny days, pool time and beach hangs, wine and "cheese" picnicking -- you name it. Truthfully, though, there are some less-than-optimal aspects, like sunburns and periodically discovering you've sweated through your clothes. Luckily, Sony appears to be working on a way to prevent the latter, with plans to develop a wearable "air conditioner" that can keep you cool under your clothes.
In what could be a true game-changer for those of us inclined to sweat through shirts in a matter of minutes, Sony's "First Flight" program is currently crowdfunding the Reon Pocket, a device that it describes as a wearable "air conditioner" that slips into the back of your shirt to lower your body temperature. That may conjure images of a tiny fan blowing cold air against your skin, but that's not how it works. Rather, it's a battery-powered, smartphone-sized pack that uses something known as the Peltier effect to silently produce heat or cooling (via electrical currents). When placed at the base of one's neck, the device is capable of lowering one's temperature by 23 degrees Fahrenheit or raising it by 14 degrees, according to Engadget.
Unlike an actual air conditioner, the Reon Pocket has a very low profile and doesn't make any noise, so you can wear it clandestinely under a dress shirt or suit without resembling a loud Quasimodo. Also, it's controllable via Bluetooth so you can easily tweak the temperature settings via your phone. The only catch is that its battery life is limited to just two hours, so you'll need to recharge periodically if you're hoping to use it all day long.
As of publication, the crowdfunding campaign had already surpassed its goal of roughly $600,000 and it's expected to be available starting in March 2020 (disappointing news for those hoping for some sweat respite this summer). Also, it's slated to be available only in Japan at first, which means it may take some time to get your hands on one here in the United States. That said, they're priced at about $115, which is pretty reasonable considering that gets you several seasons of added comfort (remember, it can also heat you up in the colder months).
Now, if someone could just invent an anti-humidity cloak, summer commuting would be forever changed.