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Scientists Develop Wearable Patch to Maintain Normal Body Temperature

Scientists Develop Wearable Patch to Maintain Normal Body Temperature

Tuesday, 21 May, 2019 - 05:15
In this May 31, 2015 file photo, an Indian women stands in front of an air cooler to cool herself on a hot summer day in Hyderabad, in the southern Indian state of Telangana. AP
Cairo - Hazem Badr
Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a wearable patch that could provide personalized cooling and heating at home, work, or on the go.

The current personal cooling and heating devices, like ventilators or liquid-filled appliances are not portable. However, the new patch announced in a study published in the journal Science Advances on May 17, is flexible, lightweight, wearable, and can be integrated into clothes.

Renkun Chen, professor of mechanical engineering at the University of California, and the study lead author, said: "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."

The technique used in the patch cools or warms a user's skin to a comfortable temperature and keeps it there as the ambient temperature changes. Chen say wearing it could help save energy on air conditioning and heating.

"Cooling costs could be cut by about 70 percent when wearing this device, as you won't need to turn down the thermostat as much in the summer or crank up the heat as much in the winter," he explained.

According to the design published in the study, the patch is composed of thermal alloys, materials that use electricity to create temperature difference, and are confined between sheets of expanded synthetic rubber. The process of cooling or heating the skin is based on the temperature chosen by the wearer.

One patch measures 5 × 5 centimeters in size and uses up to 0.2 watts worth of power delivered by an embedded stretchable battery pack.

This would use about 26 watts total to keep an individual cool on an average hot day; during extreme heat, estimated power use would climb up to 80 watts, which is about how much a laptop uses. By comparison, a conventional air conditioning system uses dozens of kilowatts to cool down an entire office.

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