We're constantly seeing inventors attempt to create new and interesting ways to charge our cell phones. VOTO is one product we've seen that uses fire to charge our smart devices, and now a new take on the idea is hitting the scene. Called FlameStower, it utilizes very similar technology, but with a few twists.

The main thing that separates FlameStower from others on the market is the fact that it will work with any open flame. This means that not only can be it used while exploring the great outdoors, but it can also provides users' devices with a little juice during extended power outages.

The device seems to be simple enough to operate. Users unfold the legs, put water in the reservoir, and place the "blade" portion in a flame. From there, FlameStower uses the differential in temperature between the portion in the fire and the relatively cool water to generate electricity, which is then sent through a USB cable and to the user's phone, MP3 player, digital camera, or other device.

The creators claim that the device is able to charge at about the same rate of speed as the USB port on a laptop, which is about half that of a wall outlet. This means that for phones, it should be able to create somewhere between two and four minutes of talk time for each minute on the charger.

FlameStower looks to be small enough to comfortably carry on a camping trip, and weighs in at 7 oz (198 g). Its 6-inch (152-mm) maximum height would seem to limit the size of the flame that can be used, although the device could conceivably be placed on something taller to add additional height.

The FlameStower Team is seeking funding for its new device on Kickstarter. It has already more than doubled its modest US$15,000 goal, and there is still well over two weeks left in the funding period. Buyers interested in reserving a charger for themselves can do so for a minimum pledge of $80.

The Kickstarter pitch video below provides more information on the FlameStower and offers some background on the project.

Sources: FlameStower, Kickstarter