MIT Wristband Could Make AC Obsolete

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Wristify, as they call their device, is a thermoelectric bracelet that regulates the temperature of the person wearing it by subjecting their skin to alternating pulses of hot or cold, depending on what’s needed.
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The prototype recently won first place at this year’s MADMEC, an annual competition put on by the school’s Materials Science and Engineering program, netting the group a $10,000 prize, which they’ll use to continue its development.
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It’s a promising start to a clever approach that could help alleviate a serious energy crisis.
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But as Sam Shames, the MIT senior who helped invent the technology, explains, the team was motivated by a more prosaic problem: keeping everyone happy in a room where no one can agree where to set the thermostat.
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Shames runs hot. His mom runs cold.
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He figured there must be a way for them to coexist peacefully. So he started researching, digging into physiology journals to get a better understanding of how we experience temperature. One paper held the key to the Wristify concept.
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It detailed how locally heating and cooling different parts of the body has all sorts of effects on how hot or cold we are–or, more accurately, how hot or cold we think we are.
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“There’s a big perceptual component to it,” Shames says.
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