10 years ago I saw something that should have changed the world by now
In 2013 I went to CES and saw a wearable personal air conditioner that ran on a small battery and could move a substantial amount of heat from your neck into the air. It used Peltier or thermoelectric cooling to move heat from one side of a small metal plate to the other, and a large dissipation surface that you could spritz with water to add additional evaporative cooling properties.
You could cool yourself for less than 10 cents a day, prevent heat stroke using a cell phone’s reverse charging (which hadn’t happened yet I realize, that was 2015 if I recall correctly,) and with a little investment in moving the heat using something like a tube with water similar to how the Oolers do it, you could move the excess heat elsewhere like a backpack with a blower fan.
The potential for preventing heat stroke, cooling yourself during exercise, just the mascot costume opportunities alone were astounding not to mention not having to heat and cool an entire house if you like to sleep in an ice cave, that’s an astounding wearable. Going out and getting fresh air and exercise when it’s way too hot? Seems a no brainer.
There are units out there, usually from overseas vendors that supply Peltier cooling vests, but just looking up thermoelectric or peltier cooling here and you don’t find it… at least not in popular consumer culture… even things that say “Thermoelectric cooling vests” lead to pages that are filled with not that. You can find some on Alibaba for reasonable pricing, if you order 50, which is the minimum.
My stepmother had a heat stroke prior to 2013. I’m not sure exactly what the follow up was but she wouldn’t or couldn’t get too hot. I gave her the climaware scarf I’d received after CES and she used it for about a year and said it was great – it died as I recall from non-use related issues such as being run over by a car or a rocking chair.
We’ve established I’ve not been all that keen on solar greenwashing in terms of heating and cooling, but this was a use case that completely worked. Charge up a small battery, heat and cool yourself while you’re out camping, camp in less than idea temperatures without misery.
But it didn’t make it here… at least not widespread… sigh.
Or maybe I’m putting too much faith into reduced energy usage and not being hot and miserable in the summer.