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Cool Wearable Innovations to Help You Beat the Summer Heat

By Gene Quinn on July 6, 2012

Chicago has set a new record with the third straight day of 100+ degree heat.  Temperatures in Illinois are expected to hit as high as 104 degrees before relief finally arrives on Sunday.  Washington, DC hit 100 degrees today, and is expected to be even hotter on Saturday, with Baltimore, Richmond and Philadelphia all expecting 100+ degrees for Saturday.  See Bloomberg.  The DC area has also had its ninth straight day has had heat in excess of 95 degrees.  Indeed, it is fair to say that the eastern half of the United States is experiencing prolonged heat like few can ever remember.

With that in mind I thought it might be an interesting time to take a look at some of the innovations that attempts to beat summer heat have lead to over the years.  The theme here is wearable coolness.

So sit right back in your chair, hopefully in a heavily air conditioned office or home, and get in touch with your inner inventor.  These individuals came up with something patentable, and necessity is certainly the mother of innovation.  Admittedly, some are more practical than others, but who knows, perhaps this prolonged heat agony will lead to a who new crop of gadgets associated with keeping one cool and refreshed during the dog days of summer.

Cooling device
U.S. Patent No. 7,527,612
Issued May 5, 2009

This invention relates to a cooling garment with one or more conduits for distributing a cooling medium to one or more areas of the garment, thereby cooling the wearer. In one version of the invention a source of carbon dioxide is  connected to the one or more of the conduits.

In another embodiment of the invention there is a  cooling medium inlet, one or more conduits associated with the garment to hold the cooling medium, and a control that enables two-stagecooling. In a first stage at least a portion of the cooling medium assumes a liquid state and in a second stage, the cooling medium assumes a gaseous state. Heat from the living body is transferred to the cooling medium as it moves through the conduits in the first stage. Further, in the second stage, the conduits are arranged to disperse the gaseous cooling medium and cool the living body through evaporativecooling.

 

Personal cooling device
U.S. Patent No. 6,192,702
Issued February 27, 2001 

The invention relates to a personal cooling device that will preferably be worn like a necklace around the user’s neck.  There is a combination of a body members forming an open-top housing containing a switch actuated motor that operates a fan.  The fan operates on battery power and has platform positioned over the fan blade.  The device is adapted to receive a coolant (such as a gel pack) that is secured to the open top of the housing.  When dangling around the neck of the user the fan will blow the coolant refreshed air upward toward the head of the wearer.  This gel pack coolant easily replaced when its cooling forces have been depleted.

The personal cooling device is lightweight and can be manufactured at a  low-cost.  It is, in essence, a personal, battery powered air conditioner that can be worn by the user under hot weather conditions, as may be found in outside amusement parks, beaches or even walking about town during the summer months.

 

Wearable air conditioners
U.S. Patent No. 5,201,365
Issued April 13, 1993

Now this is my idea of summer cool!  A wearable air conditioner!

The invention consists of cooling systems that can be incorporated into clothing, or applied directly to portions of a human body which require cooling. Flexible inter-communicating containers (such as coils), are adapted to fit body contours and function as heat removers. Water under a vacuum in the containers boils at low temperature and removes body heat. Vapor generated by the boiling water re-condenses into water in a communicating portable cold container, which is cooled by portable ice packs, or by endothermic chemical reactants. The degree of cooling can be controlled by regulation of the degree of the communication between the the heat remover containers and the cold condenser container. The re-condensed water returns spontaneously to the heat remover containers by force of gravity.

 

Cooling suit system
U.S. Patent No. 4,459,822
Issued July 17, 1984

This invention is not the most practical one on the list to be sure, but the patent has long since expired, so no infringement worries if you were to copy and distribute.

This invention is a cooling suit with a conduit or conduits for circulating a cooling media throughout the suit.  The suit is connected through an inlet into a housing having an insert made of elastic material, which contains pieces of a solid refrigerant such as ice which is meltable. The insert is made of flexible material so that it tightly engages the ice and the thawing liquid as it is formed.  A pump is used to circulate the liquid which is cooled in the housing back through the conduit of the suit.

An object of the invention is to provide a cooling suit and a heat exchanger construction that are simple in design, rugged in construction and economical to manufacture.  Perhaps that has been achieved here, but I’m not sure wearing a airtight suit on a 100+ degree day is a recipe for feeling refreshed, relaxed and cool.

 

Cooling bracelet
U.S. Patent No. 6,772,445
Issued August 10, 2004

This invention is a bracelet with cooling capabilities. The bracelet has hollow member that can hold a freezable liquid such as water. A removable cap that covers the opening of the bracelet allows for water to be placed in the hollow interior.  The bracelet can then be frozen by conventional means prior to wearing. The bracelet is made of a flexible material that allows the coolness of the interior ice to escape, yet is thick enough to protect the user’s skin from possible ice burn.

According to the patent, once frozen the bracelet can keep a cool temperature for several hours before all of the ice is melted and it should be refrozen. That would be a neat trick given the high temperatures we have been experiencing of late, at least when using water as the liquid coolant, but applying a cold compress to one’s wrist on a hot summer day no doubt will bring at least temporary relief.

There is also a detachable watch face to the bracelet so the user may wear the bracelet as a watch and still be cooled by the interior ice.  The cooling bracelet can be manufactured in separate wrist sizes, or in alternate embodiments the bracelet can be manufactured to stretch to fit different wrist sizes.  The bracelet may be emptied and refrozen, so this is not a single use item.

 

Combined cooling garment
U.S. Patent No. 7,827,624
Issued November 9, 2010

A rather complicated device, this invention is a combined clothing garment and air-cooling device for reducing a user body temperature during physical activity.  There is a vest adapted to be positioned about a thoracic region of the user and a helmet adapted to be positioned on the head of the user. According to the patent, this combination allows for a more complete cooling effect on the user.

The vest and helmet may include a mechanism for selectively introducing ambient air into the internal chamber. In addition, a mechanism for cooling the ambient air within the internal chamber and thereafter channeling the cooled ambient air out from the internal chamber may be included.

The ambient air cooling and channeling mechanism may further include a plurality of flexible tubing seated within the internal chamber and oriented along non-overlapping patterns.

The combined clothing garment and air-cooling device may also include the cooling agent containing dry ice to provide a longer lastingcooling affect on the user.

 

Cooling cap
U.S. Patent No. 5,887,276
Issued March 30, 1999

This is one of those inventions that you look at and say to yourself — “heck, I can be an inventor too!”  It is essentially a baseball cap that you soak in water.  It is a little more complicated than that, and honestly I think something this simple would have real difficulty getting patented today after the Supreme Court rewrote the law of obviousness in KSR v. Teleflex in 2007, but if you read the claims there is more to it than just soaking a baseball cap in cold water, although not much more.

This invention is a cooling cap made with knitted net fabric of polyester yarn.  There is an outer open-meshed fabric for covering the front part of the cap, an inner fine linen fabric for lining, a water absorbent fiber layer for bearing water or absorbing sweat, and multiple eyelets or loopholes. When the user puts on the cap after soaking the water absorbent fiber layer in cold water, the water borne in the water absorbent fiber layer is vaporized by absorbing the heat produced from the heat of the user, who will presumably be working, exercising or baking because it is just to darn hot!

The Author

Gene Quinn

Gene Quinn is a patent attorney and the founder of IPWatchdog.com. He is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course, which helps aspiring patent attorneys and patent agents prepare themselves to pass the patent bar exam.

Gene’s particular specialty as a patent attorney is in the area of strategic patent consulting, patent application drafting and patent prosecution. He has worked with independent inventors and start-up businesses in a variety of different technology fields, but specializes in software, systems and electronics.

is admitted to practice law in New Hampshire, is a Registered Patent Attorney licensed to practice before the United States Patent Office and is also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Gene is a graduate of Franklin Pierce Law Center and holds both a J.D. and an LL.M. Prior to law school he graduated from Rutgers University with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering.

You can contact Gene via e-mail.

Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on IPWatchdog.com do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of IPWatchdog.com. Read more.

Discuss this

There are currently 4 Comments comments.

  1. Steven J Fromm July 7, 2012 2:53 pm

    Hey Gene: Very cool post, if you excuse the pun. Very interesting.

  2. Gene Quinn July 7, 2012 4:46 pm

    Thanks Steve. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. You will probably also like the follow-up, which I just published at:

    http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2012/07/07/cooler-innovations/id=26159/

    Enjoy!

    -Gene

  3. Stan E. Delo July 7, 2012 7:05 pm

    Gene-

    The frozen bracelet/watch invention reminded me of a trick that my dad taught me that he learned of when he was stationed in North Africa for a little while.(115 degrees at times in the summer there) Just get some really cold water running out of the faucet, or failing that, a bucket of ice water. Then just stick both hands into the water such that your wrists are submerged and being cooled, and the blood going through your wrists will shed a lot of heat and cool you down quite a lot.

    After only about 2 or 3 minutes, the cooling effect seems to last for about a half hour or more, if the water is cold enough. Try it, and I bet you will like it! It’s only about 75 here, with a cool north wind, which is just fine with me.