That cup of steaming hot cocoa you're holding could be of more use than you think. For all you know, you could charge your phone with it the next time you run out of battery. What we’re talking of isn’t a topic in the distant future; it is futuristic and it is here. 

Meet Epiphany onE Puck, a heat engine, which uses a Stirling engine to fully charge your phone's battery. A Stirling engine is powered by heat disparities such as a cup of steamy hot cocoa or a mug of chilled beer. It then uses these sources of heat to power your device. To begin with, the Epiphany onE Puck can be connected to your iPhone or your Android device. The next step is to apply either heat or cold. The heat engine can be used to power all iPhones, iPods and all Android phones. It can also power any device that uses a USB charger using 1,000mA or less of current. 

Check out this demo video in the meanwhile – 

As can be seen in the images, the device is quite small, and its makers claim it is lightweight and portable. A post on their Kickstarter website explains, “Say you are out for a night at the bar and your phone battery dies. Rather than awkwardly moving to a corner to plug in your charger, or leaving altogether, you can pull out the Epiphany onE Puck, power it up with that cold beer you’re holding, and charge away!”

Now considering the number of devices that we carry on us each day, be it on our way to work, or to some brief trip, we expose ourselves to the risk of running out of battery. More often than you think, it happens at a time when you’re quite far from the nearest charging point. If a cup of hot or cold beverage could juice your device sufficiently, then it does make for an option worth considering, we’d say. 

Last year, engineers at the University of South Carolina  successfully figured out how a mobile device could be charged by a simple cotton t-shirt. Researchers at the university managed to turn a cotton t-shirt into a flexible and highly conducive component. The project has been published in the journal, Advanced Materials.

The engineers started with a simple cotton t-shirt, which they purchased for $5 (approx Rs 275). They soaked this t-shirt in a sodium fluoride solution for an hour. They then took the wet t-shirt and placed it in a pre-heated oven for three hours. After that, they heated the t-shirt further in a hotter furnace, as though they wanted to bake conductivity in. After all these steps, the cotton had effectively changed to carbon. Even though the t-shirt had been through the furnace and heat, the researchers were still able to fold it. The engineers then coated the t-shirt with a nano layer of metal manganese oxide. The device is then called a super capacitor and responds quicker than a battery to power needs.

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