WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Researchers from the University of San Diego may have provided the solution to keep temperatures steady by devising an armband that can keep people warm or cold.
- Bendable and lightweight, the invention is powered by batteries that work for up to more than eight hours and cools the skin for up to a 10C temperature.
- The arm patch was created by joining thermoelectric materials into thin strips of electrodes and planting them between two heat-conducting sheets attached to a battery pack.
For people who argue over the thermostat in the office or at home, a simpler and perfect solution has been created by scientists in the form of a wearable ‘personal thermostat’ – an arm patch – that keeps a constant temperature for people who are always either warm or cold.
The arm patch is a square-shaped armband, five centimeters in diameter, stretchable and lightweight that can be embedded in clothing. Reportedly, it can work for over eight hours and can reduce a person’s skin temperature by up to 10C (50F).
With the use of thermoelectric alloys which are materials that use electricity to generate a different temperature, the device is placed in between two elastic heat-conducting sheets and connected to a battery pack. From the battery, an electric current flows across the pillars of thermoelectric materials, driving heat from one sheet to the other.
A person’s skin warms up when the heat goes to the sheet closest to it and cools down when transferred to the sheet furthest away.
The temperature stayed constant at 32C (90F) within two minutes of being tested on one male volunteer at background temperatures ranging from 22 to 36C (72 to 97F).
University of California San Diego study leader Professor Chen said: ‘If wearing this device can make you feel comfortable within a wider temperature range, you won’t need to turn down the thermostat as much in the summer or crank up the heat as much in the winter.’
A personal thermostat like this is deemed the Holy Grail given that globally, over 10 percent of the energy consumed goes on heating and cooling buildings. However, options for this are not common, like clothes that are designed with built-in fans, coolants and water packs.
According to the researchers, about 100 of the arm patch have to be implanted in a vest to cover body parts that are usually at risk of overheating or getting cold such as the back and neck. On a hot day, 26 watts of power is estimated to be used. But the cost to manufacture this will take hundreds of pounds, which researchers hope to reduce with additional research.
It is hoped that in a few years, the device would be commercially available.
Source: Daily Mail Online