Skip to main content

MIT students develop wearable cooling device that could make air conditioning obsolete

mit students develop personal cooling device make air conditioning obsolete wristify
Image used with permission by copyright holder

We come across quite a lot of cool technology here at DT, but it’s not every day that we find something that can literally cool you down. 

Developed by four engineering students at MIT, Wristify is a prototype wearable device that leverages the physical phenomenon known as the Peltier effect to reduce your body temperature.

The Peltier effect, named for French physicist Jean Charles Athanase Peltier who discovered it in 1834, describes the phenomenon of heating or cooling caused by an electric current flowing across the junction of two different conductors. As the current moves from one conductor to another, the transfer of energy causes one side to heat up and the other to cool down.

wristify MITWristify is basically a series of these junctions (called a Peltier cooler) powered by a small battery and attached to a wrist strap. When placed against the skin, the device makes you feel cooler by reducing the temperature of your wrist a few fractions of a degree per second for a couple seconds at a time. Over the course of a few minutes, this process will cause you to perceive a whole-body cooling of a couple degrees celsius. The team developing the device is still tinkering with it to figure out the optimal cooling cycle, but at this point in time they say the most effective method is to cool your wrist by 0.4 degrees Celsius (0.7F) per second for five seconds, and then turn off for 10 seconds.

The chief benefit of this device is that it offers a more personalized approach to temperature control, one that’s vastly more efficient than current heating and cooling methods. It takes millions of watts to raise or lower the temperature of an entire building, but Wristify can run on a small lithium battery. If everybody had one of these things on their wrist instead of relying on air conditioning or heaters all the time, the potential energy savings could be massive.

Of course, it’s still just a prototype, but the idea recently won the $10,000 top prize in MIT’s annual Making And Designing Materials Engineering Competition, and the team plans to put all that cheddar toward further development of the device. Find out more here.

Drew Prindle
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Drew Prindle is an award-winning writer, editor, and storyteller who currently serves as Senior Features Editor for Digital…
AI turned Breaking Bad into an anime — and it’s terrifying
Split image of Breaking Bad anime characters.

These days, it seems like there's nothing AI programs can't do. Thanks to advancements in artificial intelligence, deepfakes have done digital "face-offs" with Hollywood celebrities in films and TV shows, VFX artists can de-age actors almost instantly, and ChatGPT has learned how to write big-budget screenplays in the blink of an eye. Pretty soon, AI will probably decide who wins at the Oscars.

Within the past year, AI has also been used to generate beautiful works of art in seconds, creating a viral new trend and causing a boon for fan artists everywhere. TikTok user @cyborgism recently broke the internet by posting a clip featuring many AI-generated pictures of Breaking Bad. The theme here is that the characters are depicted as anime characters straight out of the 1980s, and the result is concerning to say the least. Depending on your viewpoint, Breaking Bad AI (my unofficial name for it) shows how technology can either threaten the integrity of original works of art or nurture artistic expression.
What if AI created Breaking Bad as a 1980s anime?
Playing over Metro Boomin's rap remix of the famous "I am the one who knocks" monologue, the video features images of the cast that range from shockingly realistic to full-on exaggerated. The clip currently has over 65,000 likes on TikTok alone, and many other users have shared their thoughts on the art. One user wrote, "Regardless of the repercussions on the entertainment industry, I can't wait for AI to be advanced enough to animate the whole show like this."

Read more
4 simple pieces of tech that helped me run my first marathon
Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar displaying pace information.

The fitness world is littered with opportunities to buy tech aimed at enhancing your physical performance. No matter your sport of choice or personal goals, there's a deep rabbit hole you can go down. It'll cost plenty of money, but the gains can be marginal -- and can honestly just be a distraction from what you should actually be focused on. Running is certainly susceptible to this.

A few months ago, I ran my first-ever marathon. It was an incredible accomplishment I had no idea I'd ever be able to reach, and it's now going to be the first of many I run in my lifetime. And despite my deep-rooted history in tech, and the endless opportunities for being baited into gearing myself up with every last product to help me get through the marathon, I went with a rather simple approach.

Read more
This bracelet helps you fall asleep faster and sleep longer
woman-in-bed-wearing-twilight-apollo-on-ankle

This content was produced in partnership with Apollo Neuroscience.
Have you been struggling to get the recommended seven hours of sleep? It's always frustrating when you get in bed at a reasonable time, then toss and turn for a hours before you actually sleep. The quality of that sleep is important too. If you're waking up multiple times during the night, you're likely not getting the quality REM cycle sleep that truly rejuvenates your body. If traditional remedies like herbal teas and noise machines just aren't helping, maybe it's time to try a modern solution. Enter the Apollo wearable.

Now we understand being a little skeptical. How can a bracelet on your wrist or ankle affect your sleep patterns? Certainly the answer to a better night's sleep can't be so simple. We considered these same things when we first heard of it. We'll dive deeper into the science behind the Apollo wearable, but suffice it to say that many people have experienced deeper, uninterrupted sleep while wearing one.
A non-conventional approach to better sleep

Read more