I tried this $300 'personal thermostat' that feels like a mini air conditioner on your wrist — here's what it's like
We've all been there. You're hot. She's cold. Temperature wars happen in the office, at home, in the car — anywhere really. There are even studies about it.
But help may be on the way in the form of a new device called Embr Wave, a personal thermostat that you wear on your wrist.
It was created by two Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineering students in 2013 and launched on Kickstarter in 2017. It went on sale to the public in March.
The Embr looks like a simple lightweight watch. You put it on your wrist and turn it on, then push the left side for cold or the right side for hot. Each temperature has multiple grades of settings.
Embr's co-founder and CEO Sam Shames described it to me as a mini air conditioner or heater on your wrist. And that's exactly what it feels like: the heat or cold comes in waves and lasts for up to 30 minutes.
They also explained that Embr is changing your skin temperature, not your core body temperature. Think of it the same way you would hold a hot cup of tea when you're cold. The sensation of the heat in your hands makes you feel warmer but your core body temperature isn't actually changing.
Instead, the hot and cold sensations are is waking up thermoreceptors in the skin on your wrist and affecting your nervous system.
So does it work? It did for me: Each time I got hot or cold and used the Embr it did make me feel warmer or cooler.
It's also very easy to use and the battery lasted several days.
But it's bulky. I can't really work and use it because it gets in my way when I'm typing or using my mouse. And at $300, the Embr Wave is very expensive. Lastly, if you have sensitive skin this might irritate it. While it wasn't a problem for me, the heat setting actually made another co-worker's skin turn a bit red.
In the end, I wouldn't buy it, but I don't get too hot or cold throughout the day. However, if you find yourself sweating at the office or keeping a space heater under your desk, the Embr Wave may be worth it for you.