As a child, I always imagined the future filled with flying cars, hoverboards (ala Back to the Future), and jetpacks. As an adult, all I hope for is a future where I can make it through the day without sweating or freezing to death in my office and sleeping through the night without kicking the covers off, desperately trying to survive the roasting-hot human powerplant next to me. Someone in the universe must have heard my pleas, because the future is here! A group of very smart people from MIT decided that being too hot or too cold should be optional and created a cutting edge, first generation product called the Embr Wave. The Embr Wave is a wearable, personal thermostat that delivers waves of heat or cooling to the inside of your wrist at the touch of a button. The size of a smartwatch, the Embr Wave has a sleek and minimalist design that is inconspicuous enough to wear at the office and comfortable enough to wear while sleeping. The Embr Wave is a revolution in personal comfort. The future is here, people, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
- Patented, Embr Thermal Waveforms technology creates precise cold and hot temperature sensations for personal climate control
- Rechargeable lithium battery
- Temperature Sensors
- Interchangeable stainless steel Milanese loop wristband with magnetic clasp
- Intuitive light bar to guide user experience
- Free mobile app pairs with the Embr Wave, allowing users to track and customize their experience
- MicroUSB Charging Port
Embr Wave has a sleek, modern sensibility about it. It’s fine-woven silver Milanese loop wristband is interchangeable with any standard size watch-band. I found the standard wristband to be flexible, comfortable, and secure with a strong magnetic clasp that is easy to adjust. A subtle wave pattern engraved on the face and glowing light bar make the Embr Wave appear much like a smart watch.
I have a smaller wrist, and found that the Embr Wave can feel cumbersome when worn as suggested on the inside of the wrist, about one inch down from the hand. The dimensions of the heatsink (the gadget that contains the lithium battery and thermoelectric module) are 52 x 39 x 13 mm; as compared to an Apple Watch Series 4 which measures 43.9 x 38.1 x 10.66 mm. The additional 3 mm thickness on the Embr Wave’s heatsink is definitely noticeable and I did find myself adjusting the heatsink to the back of my wrist to keep it out of the way of daily tasks like typing. That being said, I am continually impressed with the power of the heatsink given its relatively small size. Without any products on the market to compare it to, I would say that the Embr Wave has a smart design that delivers results.
I work with kids impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorder. I am quite literally on the run All. Day. Long. If I had it my way, the air conditioner would be cranked down to 65. Alas, I am not the queen of the office thermostat and I usually end up a sweaty mess by lunch time. The Embr Wave has put my personal comfort back in my control! The heat is hot and the cooling is, well, cold!
The genius behind the Embr Wave is the heatsink mechanism. In simple terms, the heatsink acts as a mini-heat exchange. By acting on the sensitive thermoreceptors on the inside of your wrist, the Embr Wave “hacks your body” to give you an overall sensation of heat or cool without changing your core body temperature.
You can control your Embr Wave two ways: by the light bar or using the mobile app. The light bar will glow blue for cooling and red for warming. Click on either side of the light bar to adjust the temperature within seconds- click the middle of the light bar to re-set. Alternatively, you can control the Embr Wave using the mobile app (more on that later)… Temperature is delivered in delightful, gentle waves. Depending on your needs you can set the Embr Wave to run in quick sessions, essential 10 minute sessions, or extended 30 minute sessions. There is also a nigh-time mode that will deliver custom climate control throughout your sleep cycle.
After two weeks of use, I found that the Embr Wave truly works. I rely on the cooling function throughout the day. I find that I am much more comfortable performing my job duties. Not only that, I have discovered some very surprising benefits of using the Embr Wave. I have found that using the cooling mode interrupts my stress response. This is so incredibly important to me, as an adult living with an anxiety disorder. Flashes of heat, a rise in my heart rate, and nausea are symptoms that are all comforted with the waves of cold that the Embr Wave delivers.
Although the Embr Wave has made a noticeable difference in my comfort when completing day-to-day activities, this first generation product is not suited for extreme climates (think the beach on a hot day or winter skiing), is not waterproof, and should not be worn while exercising. This is a bummer, especially living in Michigan where I spend my summers on a boat and winters playing in the snow. I am excited to see how the next generation of products improve on durability.
The mobile app is so incredibly easy to use. It is free to download and syncs automatically with your Embr Wave. The temperature controls look like a smart thermostat and adjusts the heating or cooling cycle almost instantaneously. It is truly amazing how responsive the heatsink is to the app’s thermostat! In addition to temperature controls, you can set the length of your wave session, dim the light bar to save battery, check your battery life, and review your heating/cooling data. Once you have your preferred settings, the Embr Wave reacts accordingly. The app is intuitive, easy, and fun to use. Bravo Embr Wave development team!
The battery life of the Embr Wave is dependent upon a number of different factors including the length of your warming or cooling sessions and the ambient temperature in the environment. On a full charge, the Embr Wave can last for about 2-3 days of intermittent use. You can check the battery life on the mobile app as well as the light bar on the heatsink (it will flash orange with a low battery). I have found that I get about 8 hours of use before I need a charge; however I do tend to run wave sessions all day long. All in all, I have been pleasantly surprised with the battery life, given the truly powerful heat and cooling sensation the product delivers.
You guessed it – a personal thermostat is not cheap! At $299, the average consumer will find this luxury item expensive. I am interested to see if next generation of products not only improve on durability, battery life, and design, but if it will be offered at a lower price point. With that said, there is quite literally nothing else like this product on the market; it is singular. For me, the benefits of having personal climate control at a touch of a button far outweigh the cost of the product. This is a product that I wear every day and now cannot live without. I am not sure what the price of personal comfort is, but $299 seems like a reasonable starting point.
- It works! It provides noticeable cooling and heating sensations
- Easy to use
- Fun and accessible mobile app
- Not waterproof, fit for exercising, or for use in extreme weather
- It is expensive for the average consumer
- It is a bit bulky and can get in the way of daily tasks like typing