I had an old office mate who loved to crank up the heat whenever I went on lunch break. I'd return to find the office as hot as a Lakota sweat lodge. If only I had had WristQue, I could have just tapped a button on my wristband to adjust the temperature to a less-sweltering level.

WristQue is a project from a group of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who are creating a low-power wristband equipped with sensors that monitors how comfortable wearers feel to adjust temperature and lighting.

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Each plastic wristband will be 3D-printed and have a microprocessor containing environmental sensors to detect fluctuations in temperature, humidity and light. The wristband will also be embedded with a chip that will be able to detect a user's location to communicate with the 'smart building' via wide band radio signals.

WristQue will only have three buttons. Two will let users indicate that they are too hot or too cold. A third will trigger gesture controls and allow users to interact with nearby devices such as televisions or computers.

Joe Paradiso, director of the Responsive Environments Group at MIT's Media Lab told New Scientist that he envisions WristQue as a key element in controlling "the immersive world of interactive media that will one day surround us."

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Paradiso's group has designed and tested their system in the Media Lab building where they found the system is also an energy saver. Using motion sensor data, WristQue system software was able to predict when rooms would be occupied so that temperature and lighting levels could be adjusted accordingly. After a three-week trial run, researchers saw a 24 percent drop in energy usage.  

[Via New Scientist]

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