Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Students develop personal cooling device to help cope with climate change

The Vimband was developed by Emory undergraduates Ryan James, Jesse Rosen-Gooding and Hieren Helmn, in the hopes of winning the Hult Prize.

A trio of Emory students is on a globe-trotting million-dollar quest this summer to address one of the world’s most urgent challenges — helping people find physical comfort in the face of climate change.

One answer, they believe, might be the “Vimband,” their idea for a personal temperature-regulation device that could be worn to cool the body in extremely hot weather or warm individuals enduring severely cold temperatures.

Amid scientific reports that global temperatures are climbing, direct body cooling could go far in providing personal relief, especially for populations living in increasingly hot climates, says Ryan James, a sophomore from Highland, Maryland, majoring in business and computer science, who convened a team of Emory students eager to pose a solution to the problem.

“World-wide, the use of air-conditioning is expected to nearly triple by 2050, and with detrimental environmental effects, that isn’t a sustainable solution,” James says. “There needs to be an alternative.”

So instead of controlling the temperatures of large buildings or residences, the Emory team set their sights on a smaller, more efficient target — the individual. Together, they’ve created a prototype for a rechargeable device that essentially functions as a small, personalized heating and cooling unit. The compact box may be worn around the wrist, neck or head — pulse points on the human body near major arteries that play a critical role in regulating body temperature.

Click here to read more about the Vimband, and the students' quest to win the the Hult Prize, an annual business innovation challenge open to students around the world.

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