The Heat Is On
Smart designs bring relief to those in frosty climes
Tech / 14 Feb 2012
As the winter months march on, technophiles are seeking warm environs in which to cozy up to their screens. Akin to recent advances in rain repellents, cold weather-minded innovations are turning up the heat. With access to design this smart, people might actually roll out the welcome mat for Old Man Winter.
Modern Campfire
: Though radiators generally aren’t the focal points of upscale dwellings, times are changing. New York-based designer Rochus Jacob has created a modern sculptural campfire which, conveniently, can be placed anywhere near an outlet. Designed with energy conservation in mind, the mostly wood-and-plastic device contains a copper-based heat exchanger that’s similar to the mechanism used to keep laptops from burning up users’ thighs. A slider button controls warmth output, and a built-in boiler requires significantly less H20 than its antiquated predecessors. The portable campfire is not yet for sale, but it could become just the thing for when a camp blanket doesn’t offer enough insulation to prevent goose bumps.
Nest’s Learning Thermostat
: With society’s memories of a pre-iPod world fading from view, clunky household appliances are apt to go the way of the console record player. Anticipating future smart home demands, Tony Fadell—the designer responsible for 18 generations of Apple’s iconic music device—launched Nest Labs, a new design-oriented consumer technology company. His first rendered product, the Learning Thermostat, adapts to its user’s habits and to outdoor weather patterns intuitively, keeping home temperatures comfortable while conserving energy and money. In fact, according to estimates, the $249 device will pay for itself in just about a year and a half of use.
: In order to keep office workers sweat- and chill-free, researchers at MIT have devised the WristQue, a wristband that tracks the bearings of its user, adapting to temperatures based on how the wearer feels. Armed with sensors that detect shifts in light, humidity and overall temperature, the device empowers wearers with the ability to adjust room settings directly through the touch of a discreet button. More importantly, it has the potential to rescue office morale by calculating the average temperature at which all room inhabitants will feel comfortable—which, for anyone who’s been privy to a thermostat war knows, is no easy feat.
©The Intelligence Group