With activity trackers on the wrists of millions, it’s important to remember that the human body can become overheated in just a matter of a few hours. In the first decade of the 2000s, the number of heat-related deaths in sports sat at 690 per year — and thousands more visit emergency rooms annually with associated illnesses. Thus, companies are wisely moving towards technology that allows wearable tech users to monitor the factors that go into heat exhaustion.
From the football field to your office (really), check out these wearables that were developed to keep you safe and relatively cool while training — or working — in the height of the summer.
Sweat plays a clear and distinctive role in helping the body cool down. With that in mind, Jared Tangney and Josh Windmiller created the Electrozyme wristband, which features a biosensor strip that reads the chemical makeup of the user’s sweat. When such data is combined with physical factors like heart rate and pace, the band can alert the wearer when to rehydrate, take a break, or replenish electrolytes. The first of its kind, Tagney hopes to “finally make sweat useful.”
The ARPA-E recently granted 2.6 million dollars to engineers at the University of California, San Diego to create ATTACH, a fabric that will keep the body at the perfect temperature. U.C. San Diego professor and project leader Joseph Wang believes that, instead of changing the temperature of a room, regulating the temperature of individual people will drastically reduce energy costs. The team is working to create a polymer that will shrink and expand based on different temperatures so the fabric will adapt to whoever wears it. In short, your own, personal A/C system is on its way to becoming a reality.
Spree takes traditional fitness tracking to the next level by adding body temperature into the equation. The award-winning company condensed the monitoring materials into a headband that can be hidden in a baseball cap called the Spree SmartCap. It uses a triple axis accelerometer to gain accurate movement readings and an advanced plethysmograph for body temperature monitoring. This device will free serious athletes of the cumbersome chest straps traditionally used to keep tabs on health-related information vital to their workout.
When it comes to a large workplace, it’s hard for many supervisors to keep track of all employees. It’s a fact that becomes a dangerous problem in an environment where injuries-on-the-job are a real possibility. To help employers better keep tabs, Fujitsu created small sensor tags that analyze sensor data to alert supervisors when employees have fallen down — or even when they are experiencing heat exhaustion. Although your boss might have a better look at where you are all day, Fujitsu could make the office, in whatever form, a safer place to be.
Kestrel 4400 Heat Stress Tracker
The Kestrel line of products from Nielsen-Kellerman are designed to “detect when heat-related conditions are not safe, even before your body does.” The Kestrel 4400 and 4600 are being used by athletic departments, classrooms, law enforcement, and even industrial companies to track the environment for both fitness and workplaces (which, for professional athletes and coaches, are one in the same). The tracker takes wind speed, temperature, air velocity, and various other factors into account to determine what environmental factors may make any location a dangerous for athletes and/or employees to be.