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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Effect of a Low-Energy Wearable Thermal Device on Human Comfort

Creative Commons 'BY-NC-SA' version 4.0 license

This paper explores the ability of a low-energy wearable thermal device to improve whole body thermal comfort. The wearable device is a wristwatch-like thermal device with a 25mm * 25mm contact heating and cooling surface. Twenty-three subjects were recruited for testing in a climate chamber, with each participating in three 2-hour tests. The three tests were at 20, 23, and 26ºC ambient conditions. It was found that the local warming and cooling had a signifi-cant effect for subjects who felt cool or warm before using the device. The wearable device was able to improve whole-body thermal sensation about 1 scale unit towards neutral. The whole body thermal comfort was also improved significantly by the wearable device if sub-jects felt discomfort before using it. For people who felt neutral prior to use, the improvement of using the wearable device was small but also statistically significant. The concept of local-ized, individually-controlled thermal wearable devices is promising in providing energy effi-cient thermal comfort, especially considering the wide interpersonal differences in thermal comfort, and the device’s low energy consumption.

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