Wearable patch could save energy and act as cooling and heating personal thermostat
The University of California San Diego announced its researchers have developed a patch that is wearable that is designed to provide personal heating and cooling while on the go, at the office or at home. The patch is constructed using stretchable soft pads that warms or cools the wearer’s skin to a temperature they are comfortable with and maintains it when temperatures changes. The patch is powered using a battery pack that is stretchable and flexible that can be embedded into clothing.
This style of device would be designed to improve the personal comfort level of the wearer, regardless whether wearing indoors or outdoors and could save on energy costs. Currently, it is at the proof-of-concept stage, but it is felt that by wearing it, it could allow homes and offices to operate at a lower temperature allowing each wearer to set their own level of comfort. Researchers estimate that this could save up to 70% in cooling and heating costs.
While there are other personal heating and cooling currently on the market, they tend to be inconvenient and bulky. Additionally, some on the market use a fan to achieve its desired results, while others require the use of a liquid. The researchers at UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering purposely built the patch to be lightweight, worn easily and easily added into most items of clothing.
Its design uses thermoelectric alloy that make use of electricity in order to change the temperature. This is placed between two elastomer sheets, and the result is it heats or cools the skin based on the wearer’s comfort levels. As a result, it can be used to heat or cool specific areas of the body such as the hands, feet, arms and neck. This is especially convenient when outside enjoying recreational activities or if at a sporting event. It is expected those who enjoy live sports, and the timeless art of placing bets on their favoured sports such as those promoted at Nostrabet will find it a valuable tool when it comes to their personal comfort levels.
In testing their design and prototype, researchers embedded the patch into an armband and then carried out tests on male subjects while in an environment that is temperature controlled. The patch was able to cool the skin of the test subject to 89.6 degrees, a temperature set by researched and it maintained that temperature between 71.6 and 96.8 degrees.
The Ultimate goal is smart Clothing
The ultimate goal of the device is to be able to join together multiple patches and creating clothing items that are for personalised for heating and cooling. This saw researchers creating a patch that is pliable without the risk of compromising function electronically.
Powered by a flexible battery pack, it constructed using an array of coin cells that are embedded into the patch and connected via spring-shaped copper wires. The patch uses only 0.2 watts of power and measures 5×5 centimetres in size. It is estimated that on an average day, depending on the temperatures, it would use 26 watts of power. It is hoped that this technology will be commercialized in a few years and is being further developed in preparation for that.