Forget your jumper, this thermoelectric wristband can heat or cool your entire body
A wrist-mounted heat-sink reacts to ambient and skin temperatures, pumping out "thermal pulses" to maintain overall body temperature
Friday 01 November 2013
Heating and cooling buildings is an expensive business. Recent rises in energy prices in the UK mean that the average cost of keeping our homes warm is around £610 annually (up from £360 in 2008) whilst in the US they have the opposite problem with air conditioning accounting for a massive 16.5 per cent of the country’s entire energy bill.
A team of scientists and engineers from MIT have attempted to tackle this problem by asking one simple and radical question: what if we focus on the temperature of the individual instead of the temperature of the building?
On the face of it this looks awfully similar to Energy Secretary Ed Davey’s recent advice to ‘put on a jumper’ but unsurprisingly the scientists from MIT are taking a slightly more sophisticated approach to the problem than our government is.
They’ve created a “thermoelectric bracelet” that monitors the body’s temperature and ambient conditions before sending “tailored pulses of hot or cold waveforms to the wrist to help maintain thermal comfort.”
The invention, called Wristify, is based on the fact that heating or cooling parts of the skin can help influence how hot or cold we feel over our entire body. As human beings we are not entirely accurate thermometers and spend a lot of our time simply adapting to our surroundings.
This is why a cool flannel applied to forehead of a flu sufferer can help them feel more comfortable - or why a pair of pocket handwarmers can heat up a cold hiker by themselves. How hot or cold we feel is based as much on our perception as it is on our temperature.
Wristify takes advantage of this, with the technology working via custom copper-alloy heat sink that delivers thermal pulses to the skin, powered for eight hours at a time by a lithium polymer battery.
“What we developed is a wearable, wrist-based technology that leverages human sensitivity, can detect and perfect rates of change, and can maintain overall thermal comfort while reducing the need to heat and cool buildings,” said Sam Shames, a materials science and engineering student and one of Wristify’s inventors.
Last month, in recognition of their invention, the Wristify team took home the first prize at MIT’s annual material-sciences design competition, receiving funding to take the device beyond its current prototype stage.
The team are currently exploring the idea of a commercial product for Wristify, so perhaps we can look forward to a future where instead of cranking up the thermostat on the wall, we just just dial up the heater on our wrist.
Life & Style blogs
The Evil Within preview: a survival horror fan’s best worst nightmare
36-year-old skeleton of dead baby found inside Indian woman
Porn film production 'must stop in Los Angeles' after actor tests positive for HIV
Anal sex study reveals climate of 'coercion'
The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
- 1 Unseen Charlie and the Chocolate Factory chapter deemed 'too subversive' released
- 2 Ebola virus: It's ripped through towns – now the deadliest ever outbreak of the virus is heading for Africa's teeming cities
- 3 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Infrastructure Engineer, VMware (VCP, NetApp,...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Huxley Associates are currentl...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Computer Futures are currently...