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Brief Published: 12 Aug 2019

Cooling Innovations for a Sweat-Free Summer

With summer temperatures soaring year-on-year, savvy designers are thinking up innovative gadgets to help consumers beat the heat. We unpack two new projects.

Sony’s new Reon air conditioner is a thin, credit-card-sized portable thermoelectric cooler. The device comes with a specially designed undershirt that features a small pocket on the back for the air conditioner to fit into. It discreetly cools the neck, back and torso.

Reon is able to lower body temperature by 13°C (23°F) and increase it by 8°C (14°F), so it can be enjoyed in both the summer and winter. The device will be available only in Japan, and just in time for the 2020 Olympics. 

Another new product comes from Chinese start-up VITL Backpacks, which is aiming to break into the competitive performance bag market with a cooling design. The backpack has a silent fan as well as ribbed wind channels built into the padded back to release body heat passively. The fan has three spin modes to increase cooling and a controller to turn the fans on and off.

The bag is modular with different aesthetic skins that zip onto the bag so that users can switch from an office-appropriate look to a more casual grey version, while retaining the cooling technology. The bag is in its final stages of funding on Kickstarter.

With weather systems increasingly in flux, there is growing demand for products to help consumers protect themselves from the elements. See Adapting to a Changing Climate: Product Design for more. Don’t miss Towards our Sustainable Future for the latest innovations working to protect tomorrow’s natural ecosystems.