This Cuddly Phase-Change Robot Will Keep You Warm at Night

Hagent
Hagent is a small black box on wheels, containing phase-change material and a heat sensor.Daniel Abendroth

The space heater nestled perpetually at my side this time of year can be pretty comforting, but it's not great for my utility bills. It would be better to direct the heat in my house more efficiently, like capturing warmth from the refrigerator, computer, DVR and other appliances. This prototype phase-changing heater 'bot would do just that.

It is made of a phase-change material, which stores and releases energy as it changes from a solid to a liquid or a gas. Hagent contains a type of PCM that can store heat and release it. It also comes with an on-board thermosensor and wheels, so it can roll around and find heat sources in your home, drawing in the warmth and storing it.

It also has ultrasonic sensors and a control unit so it can navigate around your home or office. German designers Andreas Meinhardt and Daniel Abendroth built a prototype for a contest in Paris, the Prix Émile Hermès, and won second place. In the video below, a prototype rolls around and finds a heat lamp.

It's just a prototype for now, but I would love to see these on sale in the space heater aisle.