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Could a wristband replace air conditioning?

        Tech | Future Tech

Energy Game Changer?

The early press on Wristify and its underlying technology is aflutter with cute vignettes about how families and co-workers will never again have to quarrel over where to set the thermostat. But where Wristify really has an opportunity to break new ground is on lowering the high costs associated with heating and cooling office buildings, apartments and houses.

Heating and cooling accounts for nearly half of the annual home energy consumption in the U.S. and comprise almost 17 percent of energy costs nationwide each year [sources: Vincent, Energy Information Administration]. By keeping wearers comfortable in varying environments, Wristify developers are hoping to make users less likely to crank up the A/C or heat and take a chnk out of those costs in the process. The technology is incredibly energy efficient in that it's designed to heat people, not spaces [sources: Vincent, Vanhemert].

Just when these energy savings may become available is still unclear. Wristify remains in a prototype stage as of 2013, and its creators say they're exploring additional funding to help them eventually bring the product to market, possibly by 2015 [source: Wristify]. If and when that happens, strapping on a thermo-bracelet is likely to be affordable; the developers say they can currently create the device with about 50 bucks' worth of off-the-shelf components. Some commentators have even hypothesized that the technology might soon find its way into smart watches that combine cell phone and other technologies into a wearable timepiece [source: Burlingame].


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