MAY 22, 2019 9:36 AM PDT

Innovative Personal Thermostat Technology

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

According to a study published in the journal Science Advances, researchers have engineered a wearable thermostat patch that is powered by a flexible, stretchable battery pack meshed in clothing. The technology is believed to be economically advantageous by helping researchers save energy costs on air conditioning and heating.

Learn more about other personal thermostat technologies:

"This type of device can improve your personal thermal comfort whether you are commuting on a hot day or feeling too cold in your office," said Renkun Chen, lead author of the study and professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at UC San Diego. "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.”

Prototype of the cooling and heating patch embedded in a mesh armband. Photos by David Baillot/UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering

Although personal cooling and heating devices exist, they are not always efficient. However, with the new device, the design will be comfortable with lightweight flexibility and convenience to wear.

Flexible, stretchable cooling and heating patch. Credit: UCSD.edu

The device is a patch made of thermoelectric alloys that will physically cool or heat the skin to the temperature desired by the wearer and is powered by a flexible battery pack.

"You could place this on spots that tend to warm up or cool down faster than the rest of the body, such as the back, neck, feet or arms, in order to stay comfortable when it gets too hot or cold," said first author Sahngki Hong, a UC San Diego mechanical engineering alumnus who worked on the project as a PhD student in Chen's lab.

Armband embedded with flexible battery pack (left), stretchable circuit (center), and cooling/heating patch (right). Credit: UCSD.edu

"To do cooling, we have the current pump heat from the skin side to the layer facing outside," Chen explained. "To do heating, we just reverse the current so heat pumps in the other direction."

"We've solved the fundamental problems, now we're tackling the big engineering issues -- the electronics, hardware, and developing a mobile app to control the temperature," Chen said.

Source: University of California-San Diego

About the Author
  • Nouran earned her BS and MS in Biology at IUPUI and currently shares her love of science by teaching. She enjoys writing on various topics as well including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
MAR 25, 2020
Technology
MAR 25, 2020
What is eDNA?
What exactly is eDNA? It is environmental DNA that has underwent the next-generation sequencing and that has been &lsquo ...
APR 01, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
APR 01, 2020
Discovery of a new molecule could improve storage of big data
New research from scientists at the University of Limerick's Bernal Institute details the discovery of a molecule th ...
APR 05, 2020
Space & Astronomy
APR 05, 2020
These Incredible Concepts Could Get Astronauts to Mars Sooner
The idea of putting humans on Mars for first-time exploration isn’t too far-fetched. Space agencies and large comm ...
APR 27, 2020
Technology
APR 27, 2020
Advancing Bioelectronic Use
Bioelectronics devices can improve the quality of life for individuals with complex diseases as well as overall human he ...
APR 28, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
APR 28, 2020
Carbon-Dating Ancient Pottery Just Got Easier
Carbon-dating Pottery Kitchenware Just Got Easier Pottery, especially vessels that our ancestors used to eat and drink w ...
MAY 03, 2020
Space & Astronomy
MAY 03, 2020
How the Hubble Space Telescope Transformed Astronomy
The Hubble Space Telescope has officially spent three decades in outer space, making it one of the most renowned space o ...
Loading Comments...