Wristify, Your Personal Cooling and Heating Device

It costs a lot to cool down the entire room, or house, you are sitting in. Why not just cool yourself?


(Wristify personal cooling wristband)

At a point when humans need to take a sober look at our energy use, we’re poised to use a devastating amount of it keeping our homes and offices at the right temperatures in years to come. A team of students at MIT, however, is busy working on a prototype device that could eliminate much of that demand, and they’re doing it by asking one compelling question: Why not just heat and cool our bodies instead?

Wristify, as they call their device, is a thermoelectric bracelet that regulates the temperature of the person wearing it by subjecting their skin to alternating pulses of hot or cold, depending on what’s needed.

In building the prototype, [Sam] Shames and his co-inventors–Mike Gibson, a second-year Ph.D. student; David Cohen-Tanugi, a fourth-year Ph.D. student, and Matt Smith, a postdoctoral researcher–had the challenge of figuring out how to best exploit that perceptual tick. The research suggested that anything with a temperature change greater than 0.1 degree Celsius per second would produce the effect. Their wristband, which harnesses thermoelectrics to both heat and cool a patch of skin, is capable of changing that surface at a rate of 0.4 degrees Celsius per second.

Philip K. Dick had a similar idea for personal cooling. In his 1965 novel The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, he describes a commuter cooling unit:

Looking out the window he saw with aversion that already it had become too hot for human endurance; the footer runnels were abruptly empty as everyone ducked for cover. The time was eight-thirty and he now had to leave; rising, he went to the hall closet to get his pith helmet and his mandatory cooling-unit; by law one had to be strapped to every commuter's back until nightfall...

See also these alternatives for personal cooling.

From WristifyMe via Wired

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