Thermoelectric IKEA furniture could charge your phone with heat from your coffee

Categories: Home Stylings

Your computer, your gaming console, even your cup of coffee—all of these objects in your house radiate heat, which promptly goes to waste. But what if your kitchen table or console cabinet contained the thermoelectric hardware to turn that heat into usable electricity?

All around us, appliances, lighting, computers and even coffee cups radiate heat that dissipates into the air, unused. But what if we could capture that energy and transform it into electricity? A pair of design students at the Institute of Interaction in Copenhagencame up with the bright idea of installing thermoelectric technology into an IKEA table top. The table top can use heat from a plate of hot food or a cup of coffee and change it back into electricity, which can be used to charge electronic devices.

Vihanga Gore and Sergey Komardenkov came up with the idea, which they call Heat Harvest, at Space 10, a research lab run byIKEA.

“We imagine two possible products that use the technology”, said Gore, one of the minds behind Heat Harvest. “The first is table tops that extracts heat from hot objects that are placed on top of them. The second product is heat harvesting pads that you could place beneath TV set-top boxes or heat-emitting power adapters anywhere in the home.”

The idea is based on the principle that temperature differences between two surfaces can generate electricity. IKEA already sells a range of wireless charging devices, so the leap to thermo-charging devices isn’t necessarily a long one. And with the latest developments in nanotechnology, what is now just a hot idea could soon become reality.

+ Space 10 / via Inhabitat

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