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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

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/21/2014)

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