Sunday, January 18, 2009

USB-powered lunchbox warmer

I came across this today at the blog Tokyo Mango: a "USB-powered lunchbox warmer from Thanko [that] will keep your meal at a constant 60 degrees Celsius until you're ready to eat it."

Once again, I am delighted and awed by Japan's bento brilliance. No need to use a microwave or even get out of your chair. Just plug your lunch in to your computer when you get to work, and it's there, hot-n-ready, at lunchtime!

How cool is that? And, more importantly, when is it coming to America? Here's the Thanko product page, all in Japanese, unfortunately.

35 comments:

Avery said...

It costs $20 US, so you could conceivably import it, but they are sold out right now.

aimee said...

Both fabulous and ridiculous! What'll they think of next?!

DJ Karma said...

What a great gift that would be for the 9-5'er!

veggievixen said...

that totally rocks!!!

Rozmin said...

Hm...one of the perks of being a physicist is that I could probably make one of those using one of those USB fans, an insulated lunch container, wire strippers and some extra wire. The down side is that being a physicist and not an electrical engineer, I will eventually get an object that works, but not before setting *something* on fire at least the first 5 attempts.

I think I'm going to try it anyway. I'll let you know how it goes!

Alicia (Vegan Guinea Pig) said...

I'd love to buy one but unfortunately I don't know a word of Japanese so I wouldn't even know where to begin!

cumom said...

Now just let me pump the heat from my CPU into it and it wouldn't even use up any extra power.

laci said...

Jennifer-
My original laptop lunch box has changed my lunch life... what possibly will this company think of next!?
P.S. What do you do when, no matter how much you clean it, hand or in the washer, the cloth/plastic/silverware/bottle starts to really smell like mold? Thanks! =)

Mary said...

What a great idea!!!

Myles said...

That is great and all but I will also need a USB powered refridgerator.

Jen said...

only 60ºF? That is PRIME bacteria-growing temp. And lower than room temperature. 60ºC is 140ºF and that's a little better, but still not hot enough to kill most bacteria.

Rozmin said...

Jen, the danger zone for food is considered between 5 degrees and 60 degrees (Celcius of course). It should be fine for consumption, since I'm pretty sure they're using Celcius. Myles, from what I remember from thermodynamics course, it should be easy to convert such a device into a hot/cold one. Oh, I definitely want to try and make one now!!!

Apple said...

one of those great ideas that is a little bit quirky for that self or friend that loves gadgets.

veganf said...

Frickin brilliant. My husband will surely enjoy it. Hope they're available here by the next holiday shopping season!

MLvegan said...

This is totally off subject but I just read your book and realized that you live in Eastern WA. I moved to Moses Lake two years ago and feel like I am the only vegan in a 100 mile radius. Any suggestions on how to find other vegans??? This may seem silly but I feel very isolated. By the way I loved your book. My kids are grown but I will use the recipes for my lunch :)

Jennifershmoo said...

>>P.S. What do you do when, no matter how much you clean it, hand or in the washer, the cloth/plastic/silverware/bottle starts to really smell like mold? Thanks! =)

Have you tried soaking them in baking soda water? That usually does the trick for me. Of course, you could also soak them in a mild bleach solution; that would definitely kill any bacteria growth.

>>only 60ºF?

No, it's Celsius.

Jennifershmoo said...

>>I moved to Moses Lake two years ago and feel like I am the only vegan in a 100 mile radius. Any suggestions on how to find other vegans???

When I felt that way I rented a room at the local community center and posted fliers for a monthly vegetarian potluck, free and open to the public. I met a lot of great people that way, both vegetarian and veg-friendly. You could also meet in a church hall or other public area if there isn't a community center in Moses Lake. Good luck!

ANOTHER NUMBER. said...

what a brilliant adaptation of technology. our call centre does not allow hot food at the desk but when its quiet overnight this gadget would be a great.

Mrs. Swizzle said...

A friend linked me to your blog today after a cry for help. LOL

I'm excited to find your blog and a bit overwhelmed.

I'm off to check everything out.

Jessica said...

Thank you for your page and your info. I love all of the bento/lunch products in Japan. I lived there for two years and you can get just about everyhting at the Ichiban Kan store on-line. The prices are great and shipping is fast. Thanks again for your blog and book!

Ne Majasi Ne said...

It is really a good Idea. I would be always thinking about lunch since it would be so close to my computer and ME!

Locksmith Mesa said...

That's really a great idea! I hope I can get one soon =)

Cheers,
locksmith mesa

jammy said...

I love Tokyo Mango and all the gadgets that come out of Japan! Btw is there an e-mail address I could contact you at with questions? My e-mail is jannu4859(at)hotmail(dot)com. Thanks!

Heather Lynn said...

We are doing a Laptop Lunch box giveway this week @ simplyhealthful.blogspot.com

Just thought your viewer would like to know!

Megan said...

Hi! I have read your blog for a really long time and I have come to the decision to start making bentos. I have one question though. I see that you use plastic food picks and sauce containers and just got your son a new bento box. Do you ever worry about the whole "plastic is bad for you" thing that everyone is talking about now? Or are these plastics ok for us? I stopped drinking out of plastic water bottles for the environment and my health, so I don't want to turn around and use plastic food items like these if they have the same risk.

Thanks!

Jennifershmoo said...

>>Do you ever worry about the whole "plastic is bad for you" thing that everyone is talking about now?

Yes, I do, but I'm of two minds about it. For myself and other adults, I usually recommend stainless steel lunch boxes and dressing containers (like the ones from To-Go Ware).

But I've found that stainless steel doesn't do so well for young kids -- it's heavy, sometimes it's hard for little fingers to open, and it dents if you drop it. Also, it's very "different" looking.

So for my son I use plastics, and figure the risk is probably minimal. I also like colorful plastic bentos and accessories because I think it's fun for kids and and helps them feel good about eating a healthy lunch.

ana4stampin said...

This is so cool.... I really do need one now. (hee-hee) Thanks for showing us this!

selena said...

Hi there,

Looking at the Thanko page, I noticed that there's an English site. I do read Japanese, but the link is actually in English, on the right, about halfway down the page.

Unfortunately, the Thanko US site is not currently offering the USB lunchbox warmer. But I bet if enough people showed interest in it by contacting their rep (email address available on the contact page), they might start carrying it for US buyers.

There are some other nifty USB powered gadgets on there, like a cup warmer/cooler that IS available for US buyers, too.

And by the way, the price in yen for the lunchbox warmer is 1980 yen, or about $20. Maybe slightly more with the way the dollar is tanking right now.

Cheers!

Kay said...

Eeh, I would be a little wary of that product. Especially about the food safety. 60 degrees is the perfect temperature to harbor lots of lovely, multiplying bacteria. I'd rather keep my food cold and heat when it's ready to eat! But good thinking. If only it kept food at 120 or above!

Some call me... rocky said...
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Some call me... rocky said...

Kay,

If you read above, the unit is in Celsius not Fahrenheit.

So this means the unit will keep your food at about 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Not many bugs live at that temperature unless they are a thermophile which live near geothermal heated water, such as geysers.

Remember other countries besides the US uses metric.

Renee said...

You should totally have this blog + additional mini-posts on Twitter! I would follow you :)

USB Toys said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
USB Toys said...

sorry the link should be USB Toys

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