Thursday, October 17– Heating or cooling certain parts of your body — such as applying a warm towel to your forehead if you feel chilly — can help maintain your perceived thermal comfort.
Using that concept, four MIT engineering students developed a thermoelectric bracelet that monitors air and skin temperature, and sends tailored pulses of hot or cold waveforms to the wrist to help maintain thermal comfort.
For this invention, the team, called Wristify, took home the $10,000 first prize at this year’s Making And Designing Materials Engineering Competition (MADMEC), held Tuesday afternoon.
The product is now a working prototype. And although people would use the device for personal comfort, the team says the ultimate aim is to reduce the energy consumption of buildings, by cooling and heating the individual — not the building.
“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,” says Sam Shames, a mechanical engineering senior who co-invented the Wristify technology. “We found the best way to do it was local heating and cooling of parts of the body.”
The team estimates that if the device stops one building from adjusting its temperature by even just 1 degree Celsius, it will save roughly 100 kilowatt-hours per month.
What do you think about this invention? Will it replace the Air conditioners in future?