Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Personal Thermostat

PostedOctober 25, 2013

Download File (mp3)

Anchor Lead: You’ve probably been in an office where the air conditioning is way too cold…or on an overheating plane stuck on the tarmac. Enter the personal thermostat.

Randy Atkins: A team of engineering students has created a watchband-like device that sends waves of heat or cold to the underside of the wrist. Sam Shames, a senior at M-I-T says that…

Sam Shames: …by extension actually increases and improves overall whole body comfort by taking advantage of human thermal perception.

Randy Atkins: Shames says our bodies are most sensitive to the rate of temperature change – for example, it’s a shock when you jump in a cold pool, but then you get used to it – so a pulse of cold can really cool you off.

Sam Shames: The individual user can tailor the duration, frequency, and amplitude of the heating and cooling pulses to their individual needs.

Randy Atkins: Shames even thinks this can be environmentally-friendly.

Sam Shames: Why heat or cool a building, when you can heat or cool a person?