We’ve all been there: you arrive at work a sweaty mess thanks to unwanted humidity, and after sitting down for five minutes in an overly air-conditioned office, you start to shiver. Thermostats in the office rarely please everyone — this is a known fact. But sometimes you are so cold (or hot) at work that it is completely distracting.
Well, some MIT students sought out a solution to this common problem in 2013 and came up with the Embr Wave. It is a “personal thermostat” that you can wear on your wrist, which cools down or heats up on its own with a press of a button.
While it doesn’t actually affect your core temperature, it does temporarily change the temperature on your wrist, and the rest of your body feels it.
When you’re chillin’ at the local café and you realize that you should’ve brought an extra layer 😖 pic.twitter.com/WiaslF4uNB
— Embr Labs (@Embrlabs) June 26, 2018
“It does change temperature of your wrist while you wear it, but it’s not so much ‘tricking your senses’ as it is your brain and body naturally responding to temperature change,” explained Embr Labs co-founder Sam Shames. “What that illustrates is that there’s a lot more to the sensation of temperature, or the subjective experience of temperature, than people realize and that’s really what we’re here to help people with.”
When was the last time you cooled down? pic.twitter.com/z748Cd5Nyo
— Embr Labs (@Embrlabs) June 28, 2018
So, how does it work? The wearable uses what is known as the “Peltier effect,” which is “the phenomenon of altering temperature by use of an electric current flowing across the junction of two different conductors,” according to Digital Trends. The Embr Wave, which comes with a rechargeable battery, emits either a warming or cooling sensation for a few seconds at a time in “waves.”
According to Shames, this method of providing thermal relief in pulses is the best way to change one’s perception of temperature (as opposed to through a steady stream, such as a fan or a heater). Three minutes of using the Embr Wave can make your body feel five degrees warmer or cooler.
The Embr Wave was met with great enthusiasm in 2017, raising $630,000 — over six times its initial $100,000 goal — on Kickstarter. Though it’s pretty expensive at $300 a pop, the reviews have been positive.
According to a review on Digital Trends, though the cooling sensation isn’t like “stepping into a walk-in freezer… the Wave is a lovely thing to have on your wrist. I didn’t realize how soothing it is until I took it off for a few hours, then found myself craving that chilly sensation on my wrist.”
For that price, would you invest in your own personal thermostat?