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 MIT students develop wearable cooling device that could make air conditioning obsolete
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Advanced Member
1053 Posts

Northern, Virginia



Posted - 11/03/2013 :  5:42 PM                       Like
The article states the device is currently a proto-type only, however, I wonder about the potential of a final version of such a device as a cooling device while riding motorcycles.


(You can see a picture of the proto-type in the news article.)


We come across quite a lot of cool technology, but it's not every day that we find something that can literally cool you down.

Developed by four engineering students at MIT, Wristify is a prototype wearable device that leverages the physical phenomenon known as the Peltier effect to reduce your body temperature.

The Peltier effect, named for French physicist Jean Charles Athanase Peltier who discovered it in 1834, describes the phenomenon of heating or cooling caused by an electric current flowing across the junction of two different conductors. As the current moves from one conductor to another, the transfer of energy causes one side to heat up and the other to cool down.

Wristify is basically a series of these junctions (called a Peltier cooler) powered by a small battery and attached to a wrist strap. When placed against the skin, the device makes you feel cooler by reducing the temperature of your wrist a few fractions of a degree per second for a couple seconds at a time. Over the course of a few minutes, this process will cause you to perceive a whole-body cooling of a couple degrees Celsius.

The team developing the device is still tinkering with it to figure out the optimal cooling cycle, but at this point in time they say the most effective method is to cool your wrist by 0.4 degrees Celsius (0.7F) per second for five seconds, and then turn off for 10 seconds.

The chief benefit of this device is that it offers a more personalized approach to temperature control, one that?s vastly more efficient than current heating and cooling methods. It takes millions of watts to raise or lower the temperature of an entire building, but Wristify can run on a small lithium battery. If everybody had one of these things on their wrist instead of relying on air conditioning or heaters all the time, the potential energy savings could be massive.

Of course, it's still just a prototype, but the idea recently won the $10,000 top prize in MIT's annual Making And Designing Materials Engineering Competition, and the team plans to put all that cheddar toward further development of the device.

Male Moderator
2083 Posts



Shadow Spirit 750DC

Posted - 11/03/2013 :  6:25 PM
The Press section has links to articles about it. http://wristifyme.com/
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.

The impression I get is that it manipulates how we feel but does not change our actual body temperature. I can see this being great within safe temperatures. So if we are out in 85 degree weather but are made to feel as if it is 75 that would be fine. But if we are in a potentially unsafe temperature of say 100 feeling that it is only 80 could be IMO dangerous.

I think it is a great concept and if they ever market it I would buy one for my wife and one for me.
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Senior Member
258 Posts

Newbury, Berkshire
United Kingdom



Posted - 11/04/2013 :  11:53 AM
[I think] It may cause serious health problems if the body is 'fooled'. Having warm hands may cause the body to allow the body core to become dangerously cold, potentially leading to hypothermia.

Potentially, I suppose, local cooling might do the same?

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Male Senior Member
281 Posts

The Woodlands, TX



Posted - 11/08/2013 :  7:52 AM Follow poster on Twitter
I get the same impression as the ones above...the article states "this process will cause you to perceive a whole-body cooling of a couple degrees Celsius"

Note that I italicized the perceive...it's all about perception. As a safety professional, I have to deal with employees working in temperature extremes from West Texas in August with average temps in the 110's on a daily basis to Northern Manitoba with average temps in the winter in the neighborhood of -20. If the body "perceives" that it is warmer or cooler than it actually is, the natural defenses of the human brain will not work properly, resulting in either hypothermia or heat stroke. I'll keep relying on good old HVAC and dressing for the weather.
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Male Senior Member
325 Posts

Richardson, Tx


Thunderbird Sport

Peer Review: Blocked

Posted - 04/13/2015 :  3:02 PM
I use to do the same concept for my convertible 300zx. I would drop the top in 100F+ weather and just point my air-conditioner vent at my wrist.
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Advanced Member
6953 Posts

Meridian, ID


XR650L, 790 Adv R

Posted - 04/13/2015 :  6:24 PM
Originally posted by House_of_Dexter

I use to do the same concept for my convertible 300zx. I would drop the top in 100F+ weather and just point my air-conditioner vent at my wrist.

I did that when I visited the Salton Sea in my S2000. It was 112 degrees and the locals were trying to convince me that it wasn't really hot yet.
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