Gadgets to Help You Stay Cool
By K. Thor Jensen, PC Magazine, 26 August 2016.
By K. Thor Jensen, PC Magazine, 26 August 2016.
Guess what? It's still summer for another month, and it's going to get worse before it gets better. This year showed us that global warming is here, and it's spectacular. All major cities have transformed into sweat-drenched hellholes, icecaps are melting, and air conditioning just isn't doing the job anymore.
What will save us from this horrible heat? Why, the same thing that doomed us to it: technology! Humans are obsessed with inventing new gadgets to make ourselves more comfortable, and since the introduction of the first modern air conditioner in 1902 we've been using what we know about thermodynamics to beat back the advances of Mother Nature.
In this feature, we'll share a few gadgets that will drop your temperature. Some are high-tech, others are goofy, but when the weather is this hot beggars can't be choosers.
One of the best feelings on a hot day is pulling an ice cube out of the freezer and pressing it to your forehead to get a few precious minutes of cooling. But then you have to deal with water all over yourself. The Ambi eliminates that annoying second part. It's a metal cooling plate that uses the Peltier effect to quickly reduce its temperature down to 50 degrees Farenheit. The Ambi is primarily pitched for pain and migraine relief, but there's nothing that says you can't use it for general heat-related discomfort as well. It takes just 25 seconds to activate and uses four AA batteries or an included AC adapter.
2. Armpit Fans
Perspiration is one of the most visible signs of excessive heat, and walking around with big wet stains in your armpits is not a good look. That's what led Japanese company Thanko to develop tiny fans that hide under your shirt to circulate cool air to those problem spots. With three settings, they can run for up to five hours on full USB charge. They look weird, sure, but if they do the job you shouldn't mind looking a little silly. Keep in mind that you'll probably need at least two of them to keep things looking balanced.
3. USB Phone Fan
Does your commute require you to stand on steamy subway or train platforms each morning? Are you attending an outdoor event in the near future where sweating is certainly on the agenda? This little gadget could help. Just plug it into your phone and feel the breeze. Amazon has a number on offer for just a few bucks.
Air conditioning is sort of an "all or nothing" affair - either you cool down a room or you don't. The makers of the Evapolar device are out to change that with a small box they call the first "personal air conditioner." The machine doesn't use any chemical coolants; instead a nanomachine filter slowly absorbs liquid from a tank, which then cools air blown out from a fan. The whole thing is about the size of a small cooler and uses barely any electricity, making it an environmentally conscious way to cool your desk or cubicle.
5. G2T Electric Scarf
When it's hot out, the last thing you want is to put on more clothing. Especially not a bulky neck collar like the G2T from MOAI Electronics. Just a minute, though, buddy, because this weird little gadget might be your best friend once it hits shelves. Heat may feel like a whole-body sensation, but there are actually specific points on your body that have an outsize effect on your perception of temperature. The G2T harnesses the sensitivity of the neck to deliver a powerful heating or cooling effect. It runs off a small battery that fits in a jacket pocket and really seems to work, dropping overall body temperature by several degrees.
In some parts of the country, the temperature drops when the sun goes down, letting you sleep in cool comfort. Everywhere else, you might want to buy a BedJet. Cooling devices for your bedding have been around for a while, but this space-age setup is the most extreme. A slick-looking fan device pushes cold air through a tube into a special AirComforter sheet, bringing your bed down to your ideal temperature. It can also do hot air, but what monster wants to do that? At US$469, it's not cheap, but considering you spend a third of your life in bed, that's a decent investment.
The traditional air conditioner is a serious power hog. They work, sure, but your electric bill suffers for it. The makers of the Geizeer cooler are aiming to upend that paradigm, with a personal AC that costs just a penny a day to operate. It uses a separate ice pack that you keep in your freezer, and when you're ready to use it you open the box and put it in. The internal fan distributes the cold air slowly and steadily in a localized area. It won't replace your clunky old wall unit, but it's great for a desk or small room.
8. Spin Chill
Is there anything better on a sweltering summer day than a cold beverage? We doubt it. But if your bottle isn't as icy as you'd like it to be, the Spin Chill can help. This innovative device uses convection to rapidly transfer heat out of a beverage bottle and into ice in a bucket, spinning it wildly around in a circle as it does it. One would think that would be a recipe for a foamy beverage, but amazingly it doesn't seem to. It takes less than a minute to bring a room-temperature brew to icy cold refreshingness.
Top image: BedJet Climate Comfort System. Credit: BedJet.
[Source: PC Magazine. Edited. Top image added.]