We all know someone who can never seem to get comfy, no matter the temperature. They’re always pulling off sweaters because they’re too hot, or cranking up the heat because they’re too cold. But soon, salvation for these folks could come in the form of a special wristband that uses a copper heatsink to fool your body into thinking it’s just been warmed or cooled — when in reality the ambient temperature hasn’t changed.
The technology — developed by researchers at MIT and dubbed Wristify — relies on a phenomenon where rapid external temperature changes on a person’s skin can actually affect how their whole body feels. So the wristband — powered by a lithium polymer battery for up to eight hours — delivers rapid but subtle thermal pulses that change at a rate of 0.4C every second.
Raising or lowering the temperature of those thermal pulses will actually make the wearer’s entire body feel as if it’s getting warmer or cooler, allowing them to get comfy without having to touch a thermostat or change their wardrobe. It would also allow a building to reduce its heating or cooling needs if everyone inside had a Wristify strapped to their arm, which might not seem so implausible if the technology was built into the many smartwatches on the horizon. [MITnews via Popular Science]