Scientists have developed a wearable band for monitoring body temperature that cools or warms a user’s skin to a comfortable temperature that may help save energy on air conditioning and heating. Engineers at the University of California San Diego have developed a personalized wearable patch that could monitor personalized cooling and heating of body temperature.

How does the wearable work? The soft, stretchy patch cools or warms a user’s skin to a comfortable temperature and keeps it there as the ambient temperature changes. It is powered by a flexible, stretchable battery pack and can be embedded in clothing. Researchers say wearing it could help save energy on air conditioning and heating.

This type of device can improve your personal thermal comfort whether you are commuting on a hot day or feeling too cold in your office – Renkun Chen, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at UC San Diego

There are several personal cooling and heating devices available in the market, but they are not the most convenient for everyday wear. Some use a fan, and some need to be soaked or filled with a fluid such as water. But this wearable is soft, a lightweight square-shaped patch is five centimeters (two inches) in diameter.

The patch is made of thermoelectric materials like alloy that use electricity to create a temperature difference and vice versa placed in-between between stretchy elastomer sheets. The device physically cools or heats the skin to a temperature that the wearer chooses.

On a male volunteer, the patch achieved its target temperature in two minutes and stayed there. It is hoped to be available commercially in a few years.

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