When you say summer, my mind automatically drifts to Mumbai, my hometown, where the combination of heat and humidity just makes it unbearable for you to sit in a room without air conditioning. If I had to deal with only Mumbai, then the story would have been very different.
With my many travels across the globe, I have come to realize that although we call it the summers, it feels different in the various parts of the world, even though scientifically the temperatures may be consistent in the two-three cities that you compare.
For example, the heat in Los Angeles is such, that when you stand under the sun, it feels like you could fry an egg on your scalp. At the same time, if you walk over the empty lot and stand under the shade of an office building, it feels a little cold.
On the flipside, if the temperature is the same in Stockholm as it is in Los Angeles, let’s assume 30 degrees Celsius in both the cities, the feeling in Stockholm will be completely different, you will find it a more bearable 30 degrees, both under the sun and in the shade.
The point that I am trying to make here is that the summers are getting warmer across the globe, our ability to stand heat, no matter whichever part of the world that we are in, is getting lesser.
Perhaps this is why personalized air conditioning is getting a foothold in the market. When you have giants like Sony taking an interest in technologies like personal air conditioning, then you know that such tech is here to stay.
Do We Need a Personal AC?
I’m not sure how to answer this question. For a woman going through menopause, living through the hot flushes is the biggest nightmare. Even those suffering from diabetes experience extreme heat. When I look at these specific cases, then this new-age ‘wearable’ technology seems justified.
Again, on the flip side, can we not battle the sweltering heat and keep away innovations like this? Sony’s new personal air conditioner is called Reon Pocket and is a wearable AC unit, about the size of a small wallet.
You need to wear Reon at the back of your shirt, by placing it in a special inside pocket located under the collar and in between the shoulder blades. The effect of the AC can be felt throughout your being as it helps you lower your body temperature.
An anti-tech person may argue that this is the exact purpose of your body’s sweat – lowering the body’s temperature by using the body heat for evaporation and thus cooling. However, the device is an add on to your body’s science. It works by using the thermoelectric Peltier element technology. It is the same tech that wine coolers use.
The Reon is a Bluetooth enabled device that can double up as a body heater during the winter month. Nothing that a hot water bottle can’t fix, but of course, if you need to be mobile, the Reon is your answer. The device works with your Smartphone via Bluetooth and uses the accompanying App to help you set up the system.
The battery life of the device is two hours and it takes about 90 minutes to recharge. I can imagine using this device in an Arab country like Dubai, where the temperatures go beyond 50-degrees Celsius at times. It’s best to use it for your walking commute rather than the whole day.
It is expected to hit the markets in time for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, and will sell for $130.