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John O | October 2017

Personal thermostat startup prepares to launch first line of wristbands

embr labs, a startup created by students from the massachusetts institute of technology (mit) and based in boston, mass., is preparing to launch embr wave, a personal thermostat wristband that keeps the wearer comfortable.


the embr wave is expected to hit shelves in 2018. (embr labs/youtube)


the project, according to a report from mit, started in 2013 when four students created wristify for the madmec design competition. the wristband made the wearer feel warmer or cooler when in contact with the skin. now, with a new name and a new display that adjusts from blue to red whether it is cooling or heating, embr wave is expected to be in stores by early 2018.


“inside the wristband and touching the skin is a thermoelectric tile made of materials that change temperature when exposed to an electrical current,” the report explained. “during heating, the current goes into the plate, creating heat waves. when cooling, the device dissipates heat with aid of the aluminum body, a popular material used for heat exchange.”


the wrist was chosen because it is one of the most thermally-sensitive areas on the body and also because it is a common location for wearable devices. there is even belief among the device’s creators that this could save in energy costs by helping people stay comfortable in changing temperatures.


interestingly, the company is not promoting the product by mentioning temperature at all. as one of the founders explained, “it’s less like a thermostat and more like a shower…no one knows what temperature their shower is. you just set it to the sensation that feels good.”


to optimize the embr wave for commercialization, the company created a novel method for sending “rhythmic waves of temperature that fade in and out,” which avoids wearers becoming acclimated to one temperature and needing to turn it up further.


“additionally, the speed of the waves delivered to the skin can have psychological impacts over time,” the article said. “faster waves tend to energize people, while slower waves are more relaxing. this can affect a user’s thermal comfort, so the startup had to design around those considerations.”


learn more about the embr wave at https://embrlabs.com and at its kickstarter page, https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/embrwave/embr-wave-a-thermostat-for-your-body.


also, meet the founders in the video below:

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