Embr Wave: Your Wearable Personal Heater-Cooler


It isn’t easy to keep your cool in the midst of a heat wave nor stay warm when it’s freezing and there is no warm shelter in sight. Exactly why knowing that there is a wearable gadget, the EMBR Wave, that could give a measure of comfort in the midst of uncomfortable temperature gives me shivers of pleasure. It is heaven-sent not just for those who live in the tropics but also for those who are suffering from medical conditions (e.g. multiple sclerosis) or suffering from the hot flashes of menopause. It’s not marketed as a medical device but is something that interests those afflicted with Reynaud’s Disease or peripheral cold intolerance.

Developed by a team of MIT graduates, and funded on Kickstarter, this wrist-worn gadget makes you feel comfortable with a single tap. Of course, it doesn’t change the ambient temperature like air-conditioners do but it works on your skin’s surface sensors to “trick your mind” into thinking that the temperature was otherwise. Have you ever felt the warming comfort of cupping your freezing hands around a mug of hot chocolate? Or perhaps felt the coolness pervading your body when you lick popsicles? Embr works in a similar manner. According to co-founder Sam Shames, it heats or cools a spot in your body without changing your core temperature; though it surprisingly provides thermal relief.

The Embr Wave is based on good Science, the Peltier Effect, to be exact. The heating or cooling perceived is actually a conduction of electric energy. This energy is not a sustained one but one that comes in waves, hence the name Embr Wave. Because it comes in bursts, your body doesn’t adapt back to its normal perception of temperature readily. Meaning, its delivery of cold or hot pulses causes the body to think that it is warm or cold longer. Imagine entering a cold room – your body adapts to it fast because the temperature is steady. However, if you stick your face in the freezer intermittently, you feel a lot colder; possibly even feel some sort of brain-freeze. But this is exaggerating as the effects of the Embr Wave are more subtle but nonetheless, soothing. Keep your expectations realistic as it won’t save you from having heatstroke but can make an uncomfortable office tolerable enough for you to work more productively. Some people with MS (multiple sclerosis) report that the device cools instantly enabling them to tolerate hot spells.

Click on the left when you want a cooling sensation and click on the right when you prefer a warmer one. It has 16 settings ranging from Very Cold to Very Warm. It comes with a rechargeable Li battery that can last two to three days of normal use on a single charge. It sells for $299 and is expected to ship out July 2018.

You may not be able to control the temperature at your home or office, or even while traveling, but with Embr, the choice is yours to stay thermally comfortable.