This Portable Carafe Heats Your Water to Exactly the Temperature You Want—While You Pour

Heatworks
Heatworks

One day soon, you may not need to stand around trying to watch water boil—it will boil instantaneously as you’re pouring it into your cup. The Duo Smart Untethered Carafe, a portable smart carafe that just debuted at the consumer tech trade show CES, is designed to heat filtered water as it comes out of the spout.

Created by Heatworks, the carafe works by utilizing Ohmic Array Technology, a patented system the company developed that harnesses water’s natural conductivity to generate heat. Rather than using heating elements that then warm up the water (which lends itself to lag time), the carafe passes electrical currents through the water to increase the energy state of the water molecules. The result, Heatworks says, is instant hot water.

Because of this rapid heating ability, the Duo is able to heat water as it pours out of the carafe’s spout, rather than heating up the full tank of water, as a conventional kettle—either electric or stovetop—does. The temperature of the water can be controlled within 1°F by changing how quickly the water passes through the spout, making it the ideal product if you want to make perfect pour-over coffee. (Too lazy for pour-overs? We highly recommend Ninja's Hot & Cold Brewed System.)

The carafe features an elegant product design by frog, a global design agency that has previously worked on projects like Honeywell’s Lyric smart thermostat system. While most (though not all) electric kettles are industrial-looking and utilitarian, the Duo can blend seamlessly into your minimalist kitchen vibe. It’s battery operated, so you can store it anywhere, but you’ll definitely want to leave it out on your counter so that it's in full view of all your guests.

A Duo carafe on a counter with dishware
Heatworks

The only problem? You can’t buy it yet, and The Verge notes that the company doesn’t have a working prototype at CES. When it will actually hit the market is hard to say: Heatworks founder/CEO Jerry Callahan told The Verge that the hope is to ship it as soon as this summer, but there is no public target date yet. When it does come out, it will likely cost somewhere below $200.

There’s good reason to believe that Heatworks will make good on its promise. The company already sells its Ohmic Array Technology in the form of its Wi-Fi-enabled Model 3 tankless home water heater. And it just announced that its frog-designed Tetra Countertop Dishwasher, which debuted at CES last year and uses the same technology, will soon be available for pre-order, with prices starting at $299.

To keep tabs on when the Duo will ship, sign up for updates on the Heatworks website.

Charge Your Gadgets Anywhere With This Pocket-Sized Folding Solar Panel

Solar Cru, YouTube
Solar Cru, YouTube

Portable power banks are great for charging your phone when you’re out and about all day, but even they need to be charged via an electrical outlet. There's only so much a power bank can do when you’re out hiking the Appalachian Trail or roughing it in the woods during a camping trip.

Enter the SolarCru—a lightweight, foldable solar panel now available on Kickstarter. It charges your phone and other electronic devices just by soaking up the sunshine. Strap it to your backpack or drape it over your tent to let the solar panel’s external battery charge during the day. Then, right before you go to bed, you can plug your electronic device into the panel's USB port to let it charge overnight.

It's capable of charging a tablet, GPS, speaker, headphones, camera, or other small wattage devices. “A built-in intelligent chip identifies each device plugged in and automatically adjusts the energy output to provide the right amount of power,” according to the SolarCru Kickstarter page.

A single panel is good “for small charging tasks,” according to the product page, but you can connect up to three panels together to nearly triple the electrical output. It takes roughly three hours and 45 minutes to charge a phone using a single panel, for instance, or about one hour if you’re using three panels at once. The amount of daylight time it takes to harvest enough energy for charging will depend on weather conditions, but it will still work on cloudy days, albeit more slowly.

The foldable panel weighs less than a pound and rolls up into a compact case that it can easily be tucked away in your backpack or jacket pocket. It’s also made from a scratch- and water-resistant material, so if you get rained out while camping, it won't destroy your only source of power.

You can pre-order a single SolarCru panel on Kickstarter for $34 (less than some power banks), or a pack of five for $145. Orders are scheduled to be delivered in March.

Watch Ford's Sweaty-Butt Robot Put a Car Seat to the Test

iStock.com/gargantiopa
iStock.com/gargantiopa

Buyers tend to look at price, safety, and gas mileage when shopping for a car; a question that rarely comes up at the dealership is how well a car seat stands up to years of butt sweat. But even if it isn't a priority for car owners, the vehicle testers at Ford work to ensure the cars that leave the factory can accommodate the sweatiest passengers.

The secret to Ford's durable seats is a device called the Robutt. This video from the car company shows a Kuka robotic arm pushing a buttocks-shaped cushion into a car seat. To replicate a person sitting in the car after exercising, the dummy butt is heated to approximately human body temperate and pumped with half a liter of water. The average person produces about 0.7 to 1.5 liters of sweat in one hour of intense exercise, and people who are especially fit perspire 1.5 to 1.8 liters in the same time.

The sit test is repeated 7500 times over three days—simulating one decade of someone driving their sweaty behind home from the gym. If the surface of a car seat can make it through all that abuse without any wear and tear, the design is good enough for a Ford vehicle. Robutt-approved seats were first introduced in the 2018 Ford Fiesta and are now being built into all Ford vehicles in Europe.

You can watch the messy process play out below. Here are some more robots that, like the Robutt, were designed for oddly specific tasks.

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