Packing lunch is nice. Not only does it save you money, you tend to eat healthier when you do it, since you’re fully in control of what goes into your meal. Problem is, you need to put your food in the fridge to keep it fresh, then reheat it in the microwave when it’s time to eat. That’s fine if you’re in an office with access to a well-equipped pantry, not so much when you’re in the field, eating your lunch in a nearby park. The SunnySide wants to change that.
Billed as a “solar-powered smart lunchbox,” it’s a food container that has all the necessary components to either heat or chill your food while it sits inside. That means, you can have it chill your food while you go about your day, then reheat it later right before you have your meal with no need for a proper pantry.
The SunnySide is, basically, a food container measuring 9 x 3.3 x 4.6 inches (width x height x depth), with a 1.1-liter volume capacity, so there’s enough room inside to hold a normal-sized meal. Whether you’re packing a big heap of pasta, a couple sandwiches, or a selection of fruits for lunch, you should be able to pack it in. Unlike typical food containers, it comes with built-in insulation for passively regulating the food’s temperature, so it’s like putting your food inside a miniature cooler.
Doing coolers one better, it comes with both heating and cooling elements that you can use to actively regulate the temperature inside. A small display strip with capacitive controls lets you set the desired temperature, after which the device will engage the onboard elements to maintain it the entire time. Granted, we have no idea what kind of cooling element can fit in a thing this small while capably lowering the temperature (we’re guessing it’s just a series of fans), but we’ll take their word for it. According to the outfit, the cooling elements cool down the air inside enough to keep food fresh for most of the day, while the heating elements can quickly heat up food to 75 degrees Celsius in around seven minutes.
The SunnySide powers using an onboard 10,000mAh battery that can be charged via a regular USB connection or the integrated solar panel in the lid. A single charge of the battery is enough to keep the cooling function running for up to 20 hours or heat food inside the container a total of seven times. There’s also a USB slot that you can use to charge devices from the onboard battery, in case you’re in the field and need extra juice for your smartphone.
Features include a locking mechanism that ensures a leakproof seal, modular dividers (for segregating different food items), and a companion app that you can use to adjust the container’s temperature at any time. Despite all the electronics onboard, the food container is also dishwasher-safe, so you can simply throw it in the dishwasher as soon as you get home.
A Kickstarter campaign is currently running for the SunnySide. You can reserve a unit for pledges starting at $69.