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MIT Wristband Is a Personal Climatizer 86

Posted by samzenpus
from the cooling-down dept.
rcastro0 writes "What looks like a CPU's heat sink worn around the wrist apparently may be able to make you feel cool even while it is hot — or warm while it is cold. As Wired reports, this termoelectric device explores human physiology and how we perceive temperature to fool our body and make us comfortable. The device is called Wristify, and Mashable has a video."
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MIT Wristband Is a Personal Climatizer

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  • Same thermoelectric bracelet as two weeks ago. [slashdot.org]

  • by Professr3 (670356) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @12:34AM (#45288303)
    I did this at college with a peltier cooler, a backpack full of batteries, and a GPU water-cooling kit :\ It ain't rocket science, and Atlanta heat is a powerful motivator.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I did this at college with a peltier cooler, a backpack full of batteries, and a GPU water-cooling kit :\ It ain't rocket science, and Atlanta heat is a powerful motivator.

      You did something different that had a similar effect.

      Having the same results is not the same as doing the same thing.

      • by Professr3 (670356) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @02:04AM (#45288553)
        Well, that depends on what you count as "something different" :\ They applied a bare peltier cooler to someone's wrist. I applied a water-cooled copper block to my forearm. The only difference I see is that my peltier cooler was already portable, had a heatsink fan, and transferred its thermal differential to my forearm via liquid coolant - but if you want to get technical, yes, I did something different

        My point is, it's great that people are working on commercializing this, but it's not automatically a Big Brand New Development just because MIT strapped a 12V square to an old watch band and hooked it up to some temperature sensors.

        • by guanxi (216397) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @02:45AM (#45288641)

          it's not automatically a Big Brand New Development just because MIT strapped a 12V square to an old watch band and hooked it up to some temperature sensors.

          Sometimes it does seem like Slashdot simply publishes the MIT newsfeed, without the slightest skepticism.

          • it's not automatically a Big Brand New Development just because MIT strapped a 12V square to an old watch band and hooked it up to some temperature sensors.

            Sometimes it does seem like Slashdot simply publishes the MIT newsfeed, without the slightest skepticism.

            Mostimes it does seem like Slashdot simply publishes ANY newsfeed, without the slightest skepticism.

          • Agreed, and the article was horribly light on details, like how are they planning on powering a device that requires hundreds of watts? Batteries would be dead in minutes unless the plan on strapping car batteries to their backs. This won't go anywhere and whoever gave them money clearly has never used a peltier cooler before.
        • This isn't the '70s, you dirty hippy. MIT is full of unassailable geniuses and either they or Apple did everything first. If you aren't monetising it by sending the design to a Chinese factory, it didn't happen.

        • Except what you did -- using the water-cooling setup -- had a constant cooling effect. The Wired article specifically states that you get used to this cool feeling after a while. So, they're alternating warm and cool sensations to trick your mind into thinking you feel cooler than you actually are. (I'm sure there's a pun in there somewhere...) So, it's not just about cooling your body temperature, which is what most people think about doing. It's about psychology and mental trickery, which is consider
          • by Professr3 (670356)
            Mine was pulsed operation for that very reason. Two minutes on, three minutes off seemed to be a good timing setup, but it's certainly not empirical. I didn't have to reverse the polarity of the peltier block; the weather was hot enough. Again, though, you're missing my point - I'm not saying I did the exact same thing they did, but it was based on the same principles. There's no way I'm the only one who's done it, either.
    • You should have tried water cooling. A wet towel around the neck doesn't need batteries...
      • by Anonymous Coward

        You should have tried water cooling. A wet towel around the neck doesn't need batteries...

        Sure it does.
        The batteries help keep the towel from blowing away.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      no, you actually cooled yourself.

      this is about exploring how to get thermal shock from not actually cooling ;).

  • Body hacking (Score:5, Informative)

    by rwa2 (4391) * on Thursday October 31, 2013 @12:45AM (#45288337) Homepage Journal

    DARPA was working on something similar to this. It was a special glove that actively drew blood to the surface of the skin on your hand and cooled it:
    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/15.03/bemore.html [wired.com]
    Looks like someone managed to commercialize it: http://forum.slowtwitch.com/cgi-bin/gforum.cgi?post=4495810 [slowtwitch.com]

    Anyway, your hands and toes are already your body's natural radiators, since they have a relatively high surface-area to volume ratio. Your body can already regulate its temperature naturally by pumping more blood into the capillaries near the surface of the skin when it needs to cool off more. As it mentions in the Wired article, simply applying a cold heat sink won't really work, since your body tends to draw blood circulation away from contact with cold surfaces, so you'd also need the pump or something to force the blood circulation back towards the heat sink.

    When I do martial arts, I find I get the best cooling by simply swinging my hands back and forth. That gives me forced convection through my fingers, combined with enhanced evaporative cooling of my sweaty palms, while the extra centripetal acceleration draws blood out closer to my fingertips.

    There's another similar body hack for those of us with trouble regulating your temperature while sleeping and tend to overheat and start sweating under your blankets: simply sleep with your hands and/or feet sticking out from under the blanket. This will let your body better regulate its core temperature using its natural mechanisms of pumping more blood closer to the skin for more cooling, or drawing blood away from the skin to retain heat and maintain proper core temperature. Hey, it's this "one simple weird trick" for better sleep, on the internet... who would have thunk it?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I remember this case where a girl had gone through the ice. After she was rescued they cycled her blood through a warmer. It basically saved her life. DARPA might have been working on that.

    • Another way to cool off in hot weather is to wet your arms down with cold water but not dry them off. The water will evaporate, drawing heat out of your arms in some natural air conditioning.
      • A wet towel around the neck works better. A wet T-shirt also works, but if it is a hot girl then it tends to get the guys all steamed up...
      • Re:Body hacking (Score:4, Informative)

        by jamesh (87723) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @06:11AM (#45289069)

        Another way to cool off in hot weather is to wet your arms down with cold water but not dry them off. The water will evaporate, drawing heat out of your arms in some natural air conditioning.

        At night before we had any form of cooling i'd put our top sheet in the washing machine on rinse and then spin it enough so it wouldn't drip. With the ceiling fan on fairly low it generated enough evaporative cooling that we could get a good nights sleep. Of course if it was hot and humid we just ended up feeling yuck, but most of the heat here is fairly dry.

    • by jamesh (87723)

      There's another similar body hack for those of us with trouble regulating your temperature while sleeping and tend to overheat and start sweating under your blankets: simply sleep with your hands and/or feet sticking out from under the blanket. This will let your body better regulate its core temperature using its natural mechanisms of pumping more blood closer to the skin for more cooling, or drawing blood away from the skin to retain heat and maintain proper core temperature. Hey, it's this "one simple weird trick" for better sleep, on the internet... who would have thunk it?

      I'll have to try that. When I'm even slightly unwell I feel extra cold so I pile on the blankets, but then wake up shortly after drenched in sweat. Maybe it will improve circulation in my feet too... although feet getting cold supposedly makes you want to urinate more.

    • while the extra centripetal acceleration draws blood out closer to my fingertips.

      I think you mean "centrifugal force". Note that a centripetal acceleration/force would be pulling your blood back inwards from your fingertips; you're looking for the equal and opposite force that is pulling the blood away.

      Physics teachers who say that there is no such thing as centrifugal force are lying; it is every bit as real as gravity. It is a white lie, with the point of avoiding accelerating non-inertial reference frames. Such physics classes will show that centrifugal force is entirely explained by

      • by rwa2 (4391) *

        F=ma ; Centrifugal force wouldn't work becasuse my blood wasn't baptized, so it doesn't have mass.

        Joking aside, the centripetal acceleration merely describes the change in velocity of the swinging hand, like a pendulum, and helps line it up as cumulative with the local gravitational acceleration. Whatever centrifugal force is felt by components of the hand is more dependent upon the motion, so I thought it made more sense to describe that. Then the particulars of how it affects the blood pressure in the

  • A competing approach (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The Hittites developed a somewhat different technology for personal climactic control known as the "sweater" c. 1700 BCE. It was independently invented by the Mayans; however, neither civilization apparently prepared source code for distribution under terms that today's FSF would find acceptable.

    • by ruir (2709173)
      Hell, they didn't patent it either. Let me rush to the patent office, and I will be right back. Maybe I can send a patent of sweaters for wrists...
  • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @01:27AM (#45288457)

    And this summary explores human tolerance for dupes of stories that have already been posted [slashdot.org].

  • by macraig (621737) <mark...a...craig@@@gmail...com> on Thursday October 31, 2013 @01:34AM (#45288479)

    Whatever could go wrong with that?

    • by roc97007 (608802)

      Yes. I was thinking the same thing.

      Kinda reminds me of drinking brandy to feel warmer.

      • by macraig (621737)

        Oh, but this is in a whole new league of foolingishness beyond sipping brandy... AND it's being done in the name of boosting corporate profits and not improving the human condition.

      • by sjames (1099)

        The trick to using alcohol to feel warmer is that you should only do it when you are back out of the cold or in some cases soon will be.

        It can be a fine method to stave off frostbite when you are quite certain you will be in the warm soon. It can also be useful if you are quite certain your exposure will be brief.

        The classic drinking out in the snow is very definitely a bad idea.

        In the case of this device, it isn't meant to make a 120 degree hike in the desert feel like a spring day, it's to make a 78 degre

      • by jamesh (87723)

        Kinda reminds me of drinking brandy to feel warmer.

        Or maybe it's like eating spicy food to keep cooler?

    • by jamesh (87723)

      Whatever could go wrong with that?

      I wondered about that. Is your level of thermal comfort directly related to the difference between your body temp and your desired body temp. If you are sweating to keep cool and feeling hot and yuck, will making you feel nice by cooling your wrist turn down/off your sweating, resulting in dangerous overheating, or will it just make you feel better but keep the sweat pouring out? I'm sure TFA has the details but I didn't read it when it originally appeared on slashdot so i'm sure not reading the dupe.

    • by inking (2869053)
      Who knows? On one hand, one immediately thinks about all those people who are close to dying in the heat without knowing about it, because they've reached the stage when they no longer feel hot. Yet then again, if this is more like the heat regulation that dogs do with their tongues, it's not such a bad thing. I'm certain that at least the EU will make sure that thing doesn't accidentally kill people if it were to be launched on our markets.
    • by EvilSS (557649)
      Except in extreme circumstances (similar to senior citizens dying because they used a fan in a overly hot room) not much. Your thermal regulation is based mainly on blood temperature measured by the hypothalamus. This is no different than wearing flip-flops instead of boot on a warm day.
    • by Hentes (2461350)

      I definitely wouldn't use it for long periods, but fooling your body's perception heat could have interesting uses. I'd love to see this stuff hooked up to a TV or a computer to give appropriate temperature stimuli during a movie or a game. It would be like smellovision, just actually working.

  • I realize that the Slashdot "editors" stopped doing any real editing years ago, but how did this story get all the way to the front page without anybody noticing that "thermoelectric" was misspelled?
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by VortexCortex (1117377)

      how did this story get all the way to the front page without anybody noticing that "thermoelectric" was misspelled?

      For the last time, I'm not your personal fucking Google. [ed.ac.uk]

      For a vampire your questions sure aren't well informed. What good is being immortal if you can't adapt to changing society? It's the Age of Information, who would want to be an eternal troglodyte? Stake yourself to a sun spot, you're giving creatures of the night a bad name.

  • was useless. Way to take a couple minutes to tell me almost nothing more then you did in the title!
  • Agriculture helps to get food. So we should promote this technology very effectively....................
  • In the last few years there have been a few wristbands designed by "NASA" and other places, and it is a very recurring theme for finding suckers. From the copper wristband in the 90s, that had tremendous health effects due to the metal blah blah, to the power silicon wristband which keeps your chakras happy, and which the idea is patented blah blah, the idea has been usually to sell a very cheap production item at luxury prices. The fact also this was presented in a MIT competition isn't the same as being
    • It is impossible for someone to be this obtuse any way other than intentionally. Not reading, taking out of context, or turning the brain off would all be intentional. Not learning how to read, or not seeking help getting better, likewise.
      Good luck in life, kid. You're going to need all you can get.
      Moderators, the parent post is not worth moderating. It is best left alone as an example of how not to participate in any kind of discussion.

      • by ruir (2709173)
        Obtuse? No sir, I am being sarcastic. I have seen already plenty of magic bracelets that could last a lifetime are there are some nice inventions called sweaters and gloves. That aren't patented btw. And I am not sympathetic for slashdot running continuously this patent advert. Did I offend you in any anyway? If I did, well, I really don't care. I am free to express my opinion, and if it smells like an advertisement to a con, looks like it and walks like it, it is really a con. And I guess that given the av
  • by Dthief (1700318) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @04:04AM (#45288769)
    electronic crap that only works for one semester
  • If so, then I'm NOT interested in this.

  • I live in Vietnam... (Score:4, Informative)

    by wisebabo (638845) on Thursday October 31, 2013 @05:02AM (#45288883) Journal

    And this would be such a great thing for my level of comfort, I'd love to try it.

    There's only one thing, I'd have to be sure it isn't fooling (or not too much) the body's thermo-regulation system. I'd hate to die of heat stroke because my brain thought my core temperature was 98.6F when actually it was 106F.

    Anyway perhaps this is actually (very efficiently!) lowering or raising the core body temperature. I understand that someone discovered that the past (current?) method of cooling off NFL football players, dunking their heads in ice cold water, was counterproductive. It causes the capillaries in the face/head to constrict REDUCING heat transfer when you want to increase it. Thus someone came up with a box that applied a partial vacuum to the hands which (combined with some cold water) efficiently reduced their temperature. Hopefully this device works using this principle (and perhaps the DARPA gloves do the same).

    Anyone know if this is a perceived or actual control of body temperature?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Try a crushed ice enema.

  • Whoever actually wears that in public gets a geek license for life.

  • MIT Solves Global Climate Change on an Individual Level
  • These guys covered all their bases. Note the appropriately chubby and pasty white hand model chosen for the Wristify picture. It's like I'm actually looking at the underbelly of some poor, dead bloated fish.... One with a heat sync strapped around its neck and ...ummmm, covered in pubic hair.
  • by nurb432 (527695)

    Doing this in a hat to cool your head would be more effective i would think. And wouldn't look so damned stupid either.

  • My wife has spina bifida -- as one of the effects, she doesn't sweat. At all.

    This has the effect that when living somewhere where outside temperatures go above mid-90s, she's under doctor's orders to never be away from air conditioning, ever.

    A personal, portable climate control device would be great... if it were more than just illusion. I imagine something peltier-effect based with a backpack -- perhaps with the actual heat-transfer region on the other side of a heat pipe, and thus able to be located under

  • The CoolWare Personal Cooling System 3.0

  • This is old technology gussied up.

    My grandfather taught me the simple trick nearly half a century ago of when you want to cool down to dunk your hands or feet in a bucket of water. To warm up, use hot water. This is merely a portable powered high tech version of this simple technology that has been around for a long time (thousands of years). Nothing new.

  • I always wondered about the characters in wheel of time. in the books, it describes the technique as a trick, rather than magic use, to ignore the heat and not sweat.. In that case, i thought, all the aes sedai, would drop over from heat stroke.

    If this tech is simply tricking your body into thinking you are cooler than you are, isn't that actually risking heat stroke?
  • I have the same thermocouples that they are using and those things are ferociously inefficient. So the question is how effective is the cooling effect as compared to the huge amount of heat that would pour off the other side of the thing? I am not saying that it doesn't work but their device does have the necessary heat sink which also might be a wee bit problematic in that it will be both warm and cumbersome.

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