Now that winter is rapidly approaching, many thermostats across the country are switching on for the first time of the season. Thing is, autumn weather can be temperamental — one day it’s 41 degrees and rainy, and then next it’s sunny and 75. For those prone to chills and hot flashes, temperature fluctuations can be uncomfortable, if not summon nasty colds.
However, four MIT engineering students want to level things out with Wristify, a prototype wristband that monitors air and skin temperature, and then sends thermal pulses into the wrist to warm or cool the wearer according to their needs. Developers say their wristband can alter the body’s temperature simply by providing .4 degrees Celcius per second to the wrist.
“Buildings right now use an incredible amount of energy just in space heating and cooling. In fact, all together this makes up 16.5 percent of all U.S. primary energy consumption. We wanted to reduce that number, while maintaining individual thermal comfort,” Sam Shames, co-inventer of Wristify technology, said in a news release. “We found the best way to do it was local heating and cooling of parts of the body.”
The prototype includes a watch face-like component called a heat sink, a custom copper-alloy-based part that lowers a device’s temperature by dissipating heat. Integrated thermometers measure body temperature and an automated operation system controls the intensity and duration of each thermal pulse.
Wristify’s design recently won Shames and his teammates $10,000 from MIT’s Making And Designing Materials Engineering Competition. With their winnings, the team plans to refine the prototype and algorithms that automate the thermal pulses.
Credit: MIT Department Of Materials Science And Engineering