If you live in a normal household chances are that there is constantly some bickering going on about the house being too cold or too hot. Now, thanks to an ingenious bracelet invented by the students from Cambridge based Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), every household member can regulate his/her own body temperature and be perfectly comfortable.
Wristify is a thermoelectric bracelet that regulates the wearer's body temperature by sporadically blasting his or her wrist with hot or cold pulses. One would think that a device that sends pulses to just a single section of the body, especially one as small as the wrist, would make no difference to the overall body temperature.
But turns out, such is not the case - While conducting their research, the team of students led by Sam Shames and Mike Gibson discovered that locally heating or cooling even a small part of the body can trick the mind into perceiving that it is warmer or cooler than it really is. The amazing part is that it does not take a very large amount of hot or cold temperatures either - blasting just 0.1°C per second can make the entire body feel several degrees warmer or cooler.
With this discovery in mind they set about building a prototype. Fifteen versions later, they ended up with the current version of Wristify - Resembling a bulky wristwatch it is fitted with a lithium polymer battery that keeps it powered for up to eight hours at a time. Made from a copper-alloy based heat sink (a component that lowers a device’s temperature by dissipating heat), it is attached to an automated control system that helps manage the intensity and duration of the thermal pulses that are sent out at a rate of 0.4°C per second. Also built in, are thermometers to regulate the user's overall body temperature.
While Wristify will certainly solve household disputes, it has a bigger purpose - It could save the country and the world, billions of dollars that are currently being spent to heat or cool homes and buildings. Experts estimate that 16.5 % of the total energy consumed in the United States is used for this purpose, setting individuals and corporations back by $241 billion USD annually. Not only will Wristify help lower that cost, but it will also help reduce the environmental impact caused by this energy usage. The icing on the cake? We could all set our temperatures to our perfect preferences!
Though the prototype is working perfectly, Sam and his team who recently won first place and $10,000 USD in the prestigious MADMEC MIT science and engineering competition, are not quite satisfied with the look and are currently working on making Wristify slightly smaller and a little more stylish. They believe that when ready, it will retail for about $50 USD, which seems reasonable especially in the light of the amount of savings the device has the potential to achieve.
Resources: iscientimes.com, wired.com,mit.edu