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Publication numberUS20050193742 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/056,559
Publication dateSep 8, 2005
Filing dateFeb 10, 2005
Priority dateFeb 10, 2004
Also published asUS8087254, US20080141681, WO2006086618A1
Publication number056559, 11056559, US 2005/0193742 A1, US 2005/193742 A1, US 20050193742 A1, US 20050193742A1, US 2005193742 A1, US 2005193742A1, US-A1-20050193742, US-A1-2005193742, US2005/0193742A1, US2005/193742A1, US20050193742 A1, US20050193742A1, US2005193742 A1, US2005193742A1
InventorsAnthony Arnold
Original AssigneeIts Kool, Llc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Personal heat control devicee and method
US 20050193742 A1
Abstract
Embodiments of the present invention provide a device for personal heat control, including a flexible housing comprising a cooling surface, a heating surface thermally insulated from the cooling surface, and a heat transfer unit configured to transfer heat from cooling surface to heating surface. Other embodiments of the present invention provide a system for cooling wearers of impact-resistant helmets, comprising an impact-resistant outer shell, foam pads affixed to an inside of the impact-resistant outer shell and configured to rest on a wearer's head, thermoelectric cooling devices spaced to avoid interference with foam pads and configured to rest against the head, a heat sink, and heat pipes thermally coupled at one end to thermoelectric cooling devices and at another end to the heat sink, and configured to transfer heat from thermoelectric cooling devices to heat sink with minimal heat loss, the heat pipes spaced to avoid interference with the foam pads.
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Claims(20)
1. A garment for personal heat control, the garment comprising:
a cooling surface;
a heating surface thermally insulated from the cooling surface;
a heat transfer unit configured to transfer heat from the cooling surface to the heating surface; and
a direct current power source mounted within the garment and electrically coupled to the heat transfer unit.
2. The garment of claim 1, the heat transfer unit comprising:
a thermoelectric cooling unit having a cooling surface and a heating surface;
a spreader thermally coupled with the cooling surface of the thermoelectric cooling unit; and
a heat sink thermally coupled with the heating surface of the thermoelectric cooling unit.
3. The garment of claim 2, wherein the cooling surface of the garment is the spreader.
4. The garment of claim 2, wherein the spreader is flush with a soft surface of the garment to form the cooling surface of the garment.
5. The garment of claim 1, the heat transfer unit comprising:
a thermoelectric cooling unit having a cooling surface and a heating surface; and
a heat sink thermally coupled with the heating surface of the thermoelectric cooling unit.
6. The garment of claim 5, wherein the cooling surface of the thermoelectric cooling unit is flush with a soft surface of the garment to form the cooling surface of the garment.
7. The garment of claim 1, wherein the direct current power source is flexible.
8. The garment of claim 2, wherein an area of the heat sink is larger than an area of the spreader.
9. The garment of claim 7, wherein the area of the heat sink is two to seven times larger than the area of the spreader.
10. The garment of claim 2, further comprising one or more devices selected from the group consisting of: a timer, a solid-state electronic timing switch, and an electroluminescence device.
11. The garment of claim 2, wherein the garment is selected from a group consisting of: biking shorts, biking shoes, biking jerseys, exercise suits, sport bras, spandex pants, under garments, shorts, tops, shirts, gloves, shoes, boots, ski boots, roller skates, ice skates, roller blades, socks, wrist bands, heart monitors, wrist watches, uniforms, baseball caps, golf caps, visors, head bands, hats, glasses, sunglasses, headphones, medallions, pendants, jewelry, necklaces, bracelets, anklets, chemical suits, bio suits, space suits, space helmets, bullet-proof vests, fire protective suits, motorcycle leathers, goggles, hard hats, construction helmets, welding masks, motor racing helmets, motor cycle helmets, motor racing suits, motor racing under garments, bicycle helmets, football helmets, batting helmets, cricket batting helmets, baseball batting helmets, softball helmets, skiing helmets, skiing suits and under garments, riding helmets, equestrian riding helmets, fencing masks, fencing tunics, shin guards, knee pads, military equipment hats, and military helmets.
12. The garment of claim 2, further comprising a programmable logic device, wherein the programmable logic device is configured to turn the thermoelectric cooling unit on or off based on an expected heat generation pattern.
13. The garment of claim 12, wherein the programmable logic device is configured via external radio control.
14. The garment of claim 2, further comprising a programmable logic device and a plurality of thermoelectric cooling units, wherein the programmable logic device is configured to pulse each of the plurality of thermoelectric units on and off in a predetermined pattern.
15. A method for personal heat control, the method comprising:
providing a garment comprising a cooling surface, a heating surface thermally insulated from the cooling surface, a Peltier thermoelectric cooling unit configured to transfer heat from the cooling surface to the heating surface, and a direct current power supply; and
applying the cooling surface of the garment to an area proximal to skin.
16. The method of claim 15, further comprising:
bonding a metal cap to the Peltier thermoelectric cooling unit for contacting the skin.
17. The method of claim 15, further comprising:
thermally coupling a spreader to the Peltier thermoelectric cooling unit, wherein applying the cooling surface of the garment to an area proximal to skin comprises applying the spreader to an area proximal to skin.
18. A system for cooling wearers of impact-resistant helmets, the system comprising:
an impact-resistant outer shell;
a plurality of impact-dampening foam pads affixed to an inside of the impact-resistant outer shell and configured to rest on a wearer's head;
a plurality of thermoelectric cooling devices spaced to avoid interference with the plurality of impact-dampening foam pads and configured to rest against the wearer's head;
a heat sink configured to dissipate heat from the plurality of thermoelectric cooling devices;
a plurality of heat pipes thermally coupled at one end to the plurality of thermoelectric cooling devices and thermally coupled at another end to the heat sink, and configured to transfer heat from the plurality of thermoelectric cooling devices to the heat sink with minimal conduction heat loss, wherein the plurality of heat pipes is spaced to avoid interference with the plurality of impact-dampening foam pads.
19. The system of claim 18, further comprising an elasticized band attached at each end to the inside of the impact-resistant outer shell and configured to hold the plurality of thermoelectric cooling devices against the wearer's head.
20. The system of claim 18, further comprising a halo attached to an outside of the impact-resistant outer shell and configured to house the heat sink.
Description
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/543,783, entitled “Personal Heat Control Device and Method” and filed on Feb. 10, 2004. The aforementioned application is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety for all purposes. The present application is further related to PCT Patent Application No. PCT/US04/023124, entitled “Personal Heat Control Device and Method” and filed on Jul. 16, 2004, and to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/622,853, entitled “Personal Heat Control Device and Method” and filed on Jul. 17, 2003, both of which are hereby incorporated herein by reference.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE

Contained herein is material that is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction of the patent disclosure by any person as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent files or records, but otherwise reserves all rights to the copyright whatsoever.

BACKGROUND

1. Field

Embodiments of the present invention relate generally to personal heat control. More particularly, embodiments of the present invention relate to personal heat control devices that may be stand-alone, dedicated devices, integrated into or temporarily affixed or attached to other conventional devices, integrated into or temporarily affixed or attached to articles of clothing, or otherwise conveniently worn on a person to achieve cooling or heating of the person's body.

2. Description of Related Art

In a hot or cold environment, it is often desirable to have access to convenient, personalized heat control to improve personal comfort in such an environment. For example, placing a cool item against the skin of a person who is staying in a hot environment tends to alleviate the person's discomfort due to the high temperature.

SUMMARY

Methods and apparatus for personal heat control are described. According to one embodiment of the present invention, a portable heat control device is integrated within a garment. The portable heat control device may be self-contained or the components may be distributed at various locations of the garment. The portable heat control device includes an optional flexible enclosure, a cooling surface, a heating surface, and a heat transfer unit. The heating surface is thermally insulated from the cooling surface. The heat transfer unit is accommodated in or on the flexible enclosure and is configured and disposed to cool the cooling surface and heat the heating surface.

According to one embodiment, the flexible enclosure is configured to accommodate an internal DC power supply. In an alternative embodiment, DC power may be supplied via one or more distributed units located within or which have been otherwise incorporated with or attached to the garment.

According to one embodiment, the flexible enclosure is configured to accommodate a control circuit board including a timer. In an alternative embodiment, the control circuit board may be communicatively coupled via wire or wireless means with the portable heat control device and reside external to the flexible enclosure as one or more distributed units located within or which have been otherwise incorporated with or attached to the garment.

In this manner, the garment becomes the attachment mechanism for maintaining the proximity of the portable heat control device to the user's body and the support structure for containing or holding various distributed components of a portable heat control device.

Other features of embodiments of the present invention will be apparent from the accompanying drawings and from the detailed description that follows.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

Embodiments of the present invention are illustrated by way of example, and not by way of limitation, in the figures of the accompanying drawings and in which like reference numerals refer to similar elements and in which:

FIG. 1A depicts an illustrative cross-sectional side view of a personal heat-control device constructed as a flexible strip according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 1B depicts an illustrative cross-sectional side view of a personal heat-control device constructed as a flexible strip according to an alternative embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 1C depicts an illustrative cross-sectional side view of a personal heat-control device constructed as a flexible strip according to another embodiment of the present invention.

FIGS. 2A and 2B depict front and back views of a personal heat-control device integrated within an ornamental key FOB, pendant or medallion according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 depicts a personal heat-control device integrated within an ornamental key FOB, such as a mouse design, pendant or medallion according to an alternative embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 depicts a personal heat-control device integrated within an ornamental key FOB, such as a model car design, pendant or medallion according to yet another embodiment of the present invention.

FIGS. 5A-C depict front, back, and side views, respectively, of a wrist watch having an integrated personal heat-control device according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIGS. 6A and 6B depict front and back views, respectively, of a mobile phone having an integrated personal heat-control device according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIGS. 7A and 7B depict a flexible personal heat-control device which may be incorporated within or removably attached to a baseball cap according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 8 depicts a head band, wrist band, or the like having a personal heat-control device according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 9 depicts a cold face of a personal heat-control device constructed as a flexible strip according to an alternative embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 10 depicts a heat dissipating control face of the personal heat-control device of FIG. 9.

FIG. 11 is a logical illustration of a distributed arrangement of components of a personal heat-control device within a garment according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 12 depicts a flexible personal heat-control device which may be incorporated within or removably attached to a baseball cap according to an alternative embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 13 depicts some representative components of a personal heat-control device according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIGS. 14A-B depict the inside and outside, respectively, of a cycling helmet having incorporated therein a distributed personal cooling device (PCD) according to one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 15 illustrates a cross-sectional view of an impact-resistant helmet, such as a military or combat helmet, with one or more thermoelectric cooling modules (or cold spots) integrated therein, according to various embodiments of the present invention.

FIG. 16 illustrates perspective isometric views of an impact-resistant helmet, such as a military or combat helmet, with one or more thermoelectric cooling modules (or cold spots) integrated therein, according to various embodiments of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Methods and apparatus for personal heat control are described. Broadly stated, a personal heat control device includes a heat transfer unit, such as a thermoelectric cooling (TEC) module employing a phenomenon known as the “Peltier Effect,” for providing cooling and heating. According to one embodiment, a TEC module is mounted in or on a flexible enclosure that is either wearable by a person or removably attachable or integrated into to a wearable item such as an article of clothing, athletic gear, safety or protective gear, or accessories.

According to another embodiment, a personal heat-control device may be a stand-alone device or integrated within an accessory or other conventional portable device, such as a key FOB, pendant, mobile phone, pager, personal digital assistant, camera, spectacles, hearing aids, jewelry. The portable device whether integrated or stand-alone enables heat transfer to be made from or to a person's body for comfort or refreshment purposes by directly or indirectly engaging a heating surface or a cooling surface of the device with, for example, the palm of ones hand, the inside of the wrist, the forehead, the temple, or other area of the body where blood vessels are close to the skin surface. In this manner, rapid and effective transfer of heat for cooling or warming the body can be achieved. Additionally, according to various embodiments of the present invention, the cooling or warming can be achieved with economical expenditure of electrical energy and under close control. Miniature personal heat-control devices, such as PCDs, bring a new dimension to personal cooling in the fields of leisure, fashion, military, firefighting, construction, industry, healthcare and sport; and eliminate or reduce the need for fans, ice crystals, water sprays and bulky collar coolers.

A more general description of personal heat control device using a TEC module has been given in the U.S. Pat. No. 5,970,718, entitled “PERSONAL HEAT CONTROL” and issued to the present inventor. U.S. Pat. No. 5,970,718 is hereby incorporated herein by reference.

Terminology

Brief definitions of terms used throughout this application are given below.

The terms “connected” or “coupled” and related terms are used in an operational sense and are not necessarily limited to a direct connection or coupling. The term “thermally coupled” means coupled in a way capable of conducting heat, and the term “thermally insulated” means separated by a substance that deters heat transfer.

The term “flexible” generally means bendable and adaptable under relatively little force. In the context of various embodiments of the present invention, flexible is intended to describe the dynamic conforming nature of the personal heat-control device to the general shape of a portion of a person's body, such as wrist, ankle, neck, shoulder, back, chest, forehead, rib cage, arch, temple, palm, etc., directly or indirectly in contact with or otherwise engaging a surface of the personal heat-control device. In this regard, flexible relates to the lack of memory of the material so described or the disinclination of the material to maintain a particular shape other than its original shape. Rather, according to various embodiments described herein, a flexible personal heat-control device band or strip has sufficient adaptability to be incorporated into and/or removably attached to garments and/or accessories, including, but not limited to biking shorts, biking jerseys, exercise suits, sport bras, spandex pants, under garments, shorts, tops, shirts, gloves, shoes, boots, socks, heart monitors, wrist watches, wrist bands, glasses, sunglasses, headphones, medallions, pendants, jewelry (e.g., necklaces, bracelets, anklets), uniforms, baseball caps, golf caps, visors, head bands, hats, chemical suits, bio suits, space suits, space helmets, bullet-proof vests, fire protective suits, motorcycle leathers, goggles, hard hats, motor racing helmets, motor racing undergarments, motor cycle helmets, bicycle helmets, football helmets, batting helmets (e.g. cricket or baseball batting helmets), softball helmets, construction helmets, welding masks, skiing helmets, riding helmets (e.g. equestrian riding helmets), fencing masks, fencing tunics, and the like, so as to move with, adapt and conform to the portion of the body as it bends, moves, flexes, twists, etc.

The term “garment” broadly refers to any article of clothing, apparel, gear, headwear, footwear and/or safety or protective gear. Without limitation, garment as used herein is intended to encompass biking shorts, biking shoes, biking jerseys, exercise suits, sport bras, spandex pants, under garments, shorts, tops, shirts, gloves, shoes, boots, ski boots, roller skates, ice skates, roller blades, socks, wrist bands, heart monitors, wrist watches, uniforms, baseball caps, golf caps, visors, head bands, hats, glasses, sunglasses, headphones, medallions, pendants, jewelry (e.g., necklaces, bracelets, anklets), chemical suits, bio suits, space suits, space helmets, bullet-proof vests, fire protective suits, motorcycle leathers, goggles, hard hats, construction helmets, welding masks, motor racing helmets, motor cycle helmets, motor racing suits, motor racing under garments, bicycle helmets, football helmets, batting helmets (e.g. cricket or baseball batting helmets), softball helmets, skiing helmets, skiing suits and under garments, riding helmets (e.g. equestrian riding helmets), fencing masks, fencing tunics, shin guards, knee pads, military equipment, including hats and helmets, and the like.

The phrases “in one embodiment,” “according to one embodiment,” and the like generally mean the particular feature, structure, or characteristic following the phrase is included in at least one embodiment of the present invention, and may be included in more than one embodiment of the present invention. Importantly, such phases do not necessarily refer to the same embodiment.

If the specification states a component or feature “may”, “can”, “could”, or “might” be included or have a characteristic, that particular component or feature is not required to be included or have the characteristic.

The phrase “personal heat-control device” generally refers to a portable device that may produce a heating or cooling effect. An example of a personal heat-control device is a personal cooling device (PCD).

FIG. 1A shows an illustrative cross-sectional view of a personal heat-control device 100 constructed as a flexible strip according to one embodiment of the present invention. In this example, a heat transfer unit 101 (indicated by a dotted box) includes one or more TEC modules 104 employing the Peltier Effect (also known as Peltier modules, thermoelectric modules (TEMs), thermoelectric coolers (TECs), or Peltier-effect units) an optional spreader 102 that functions as a spreader to enlarge the cooling surface of one or more TEC modules 104, and a heat sink block or strip 103 mounted on the hot face of one or more of the TEC modules 104.

According to one embodiment, the spreader 102 is formed of a copper foil or similar conductive alloy, metal, or material, such as aluminum, stainless steel, carbon-fiber, or carbon-carbon materials and/or composites. The dimensions of the spreader 102 may be tailored for the particular application. Empirical data suggests that strips of approximately 0.25 mm thickness, 12 mm width, and 75 mm length is sufficient in terms of flexibility and cooling ability for the baseball cap embodiment, for example, discussed below. According to one embodiment, as depicted in FIG. 1B, the spreader 102 may be excluded from heat transfer unit 101′ and the cold faces of the one or more TEC modules 104 may form a cooling surface of an alternative configuration of a personal heat-control device 100′.

The spreader 102, which may be pre-coated by powder coating, in this example, represents the cold face or cooling surface to be exposed on the cold side of the TEC module. The back (inside) surface of the spreader 102 has mounted thereon the cold face of one or more TEC modules 104 fixed with a thermally conductive adhesive, such as double sided tape, epoxy cement or the like.

On the hot face of each TEC module will be mounted an aluminum (or similar conductive alloy, metal, or material, such as magnesium, carbon-fiber, and/or carbon-carbon materials or composites) heat sink block or strip 103, which may be partially or fully exposed on a hot face of the personal heat-control device or ventilated sufficiently via the use of a breathable material enclosure or one or more open channels or troughs in enclosure materials to enable more efficient dissipation of heat. Individual heat sink blocks 103 may be on the order of 1 mm thick, 110 mm wide and 100 mm long. Strip metal heat sinks may be thinner, however, the length should be selected so as to maintain the flexibility of the personal heat-control device for the intended application. As above, a thermally conductive adhesive, such as double sided tape, epoxy cement, a highly thermally conductive heat film adhesive, or the like, may be used to mount the heat sinks onto the TEC modules 104. According to one embodiment, the surface area of the heat sink 103 may be several times the size of the cooling surface with or without the spreader 102, e.g., two to seven times larger depending upon the materials used, to promote rapid heat dissipation. Additionally, the heat sink 103 may be finned to increase its efficiency by increasing the surface area and allowing increased heat dissipation.

According to one embodiment, as depicted in FIG. 1C, the heat sink block 103 may be excluded from a heat transfer unit 101″ and the enclosure 110 may function as the heat dissipation mechanism for a personal heat-control device 100″. For example, the housing 110 may be the garment itself, and the cooling surface may be integrated separately from the power source and printed circuit board, but within the same garment. In addition, according to some embodiments of the present invention, a circular metal cap or button, such as a bronze cap or button, may be bonded to the cold face of each TEC module for improved safety, comfort, and aesthetic appearance. The bronze in such embodiments may be nickel plated to avoid verdigris (green) marking.

As is well-known, TEC modules are highly efficient heat pumps that directly convert electricity into heating and cooling power. When power is supplied to the TEC modules, the current causes one side of the TEC modules and hence one side of the personal heat-control device (the cool side) to absorb heat. Meanwhile, the other side of the TEC modules (the hot side) release heat (the hot side). That is, the TEC module causes heat to flow from the cool side to the hot side. Reversing the current causes the heat to be moved in the opposite direction thereby reversing the hot side and the cold side. Consequently, according to one embodiment, the heating or cooling effect produced by a particular surface of the personal heat-control device may be selectable by the end user. Based on the disclosure provided herein, one of ordinary skill in the art will recognize the various possible reconfigurations of personal heat control device 100 that would achieve a heating effect, such as, for example, by placing a hot surface of TEC module 104, or a heat sink 103, faced toward the skin or by reversing the direction of current supplied to TEC module 104.

In the embodiments depicted, in FIGS. 1A-C, the basic personal heat-control device elements described above are encapsulated within an optional soft-faced and flexible housing/enclosure 110 constructed of one or more bonded layers of one or more of polyester (polyether), polyethylene, polypropylene, nylon, kevlar, nomex, polyacrylonitrile, cellulose, and polyurethane, or similar foams and/or fibers. Use of flexible, soft-faced materials that are also breathable will facilitate the dispersing of heat generated by the Peltier modules 104 through the housing or enclosure.

According to one embodiment, within the flexible housing 110 are formed chambers of sufficient size and shape to house one or more DC power supplies 115 to power optional electronics, such as a display, e.g., an LCD, to indicate operational and/or battery status, and provide current to the heat transfer unit 101 or 101′ or 101″. Also, optionally housed are one or more of a timer, a solid-state electronic timing switch 109, an IC chip, and an electro-luminescence (EL) device.

According to one embodiment, personal heat-control device 100, 100′ and/or 100″ is as convenient to recharge as a mobile phone. The DC power supplies 115 may be Lithium Ion (Li-ion) rechargeable batteries with solid state electrolyte or lithium thin cell primary batteries electrically connected, e.g. by wires or conductive strips, to energize the heat transfer unit 101, 101′ or 101″ on activation of the solid state electronic timing switch 109 mounted on the outside of the flexible enclosure. According to one embodiment of the present invention, the batteries used to power the circuitry in the personal heat-control device may be Nickel Cadmium (Ni—Cd), Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) or other type of rechargeable batteries. They can also be disposable batteries. The batteries themselves can be constructed in flexible form, such as those developed by Power Paper Ltd., based in Tel Aviv, Israel. For example, a flexible battery may be printed directly onto paper, plastic or other flexible material. According to yet other embodiments of the present invention, a high-capacity lithium polymer battery may be used.

According to another embodiment, the DC power supplies 115 comprise fuel cells, such as those utilizing methanol cartridges, for example, or solar cells. The DC power supplies 115 may be embedded in a sealed flexible enclosure with the rest of the personal heat-control device circuitry, enclosed in an openable enclosure (particularly suited for disposable batteries or fuel cell cartridges), or external to the personal heat-control device enclosure. Recharging batteries within the flexible personal heat-control device can be achieved via either a 2- or 3-pin flat connector or alternatively a circular connector, for example, any of which can be recessed into the flexible housing 110, on any face of the unit 100. 100′ or 100″.

On the cold face 125 of the personal heat-control device 100, the soft-faced, flexible housing 110 is cut or otherwise molded or formed to expose, preferably in a flush manner, the spreader 102. On the hot face 120 of the personal heat-control device 100, the soft housing 110 can optionally be cut or otherwise molded or formed to expose the heat sink(s) 103. The outer surface of the hot side 120 may have a Velcro attachment material or similar material, mounted and adhered to it. This material may cover the entire surface of the soft and flexible housing 110 on the hot side 120 of the personal heat-control device 100 with the exception of the heat sinks 103, which may be exposed to assist the dissipation of heat.

It has been found that a pleasant cooling effect is achieved when the unit is activated and the cooling surface or spreader 102 is applied to a portion of the body where blood vessels are close to the surface of the skin for between about 1 to 10 seconds. The timing switch circuitry 109, may prevent or otherwise limit successive reactivation of the unit 100 for a short period, to prevent overcooling, to allow battery recovery, and/or to allow heat generated in the unit 100 to disperse through the hot face 120 of the housing 110. According to one embodiment, the housing 110 may be formed of a thermally conductive material to support more rapid heat dissipation and increase the effective surface area of the heat sink.

FIGS. 2A and 2B depict front and back views of a personal heat-control device integrated within an ornamental key FOB, pendant or medallion according to one embodiment of the present invention. In the example depicted, a medallion 200 includes an activation switch 205 on the front face. The encasing 207 is formed of aluminum or other metal, alloy, or other heat conductive material and acts as a heat sink. Other heat conductive materials include carbon-carbon materials and composites (e.g., LYASE), and carbon-fiber materials. On the backside, one or more cool spots 210 are provided. While in this example, the cool spot 210 is comprised of the cold faces of one or more TEC modules, in alternative embodiments, an optional spreader may increase the surface area of the cool spot 210.

FIGS. 3 and 4 depict alternative embodiments of a personal heat-control devices integrated within ornamental key FOBs, pendants or medallions.

FIGS. 5A-C depict front, back, and side views, respectively, of a wrist watch having an integrated personal heat-control device, such as a PCD, according to one embodiment of the present invention. In an embodiment in which the personal heat-control device is integrated with the watch, the personal heat-control device and watch may share the same DC power source.

FIGS. 6A and 6B depict front and back views, respectively, of a mobile phone 600 having an integrated personal heat-control device, such as a PCD, according to one embodiment of the present invention. In the example illustrated, one or more cool spots 605 are provided on the backside of the mobile phone 600. Alternatively, cool spots could be positioned on the front side of the mobile phone 600 or they could be present on more than one surface. As above, the surface area of the one or more cool spots 605 may be increased according to alternative embodiments by employing an optional spreader, such as a thin conductive foil. In an embodiment in which the personal heat-control device is integrated with the mobile phone 600, the personal heat-control device and mobile phone 600 may share the same DC power source.

FIGS. 7A and 7B depict a flexible personal heat-control device which may be incorporated within or removably attached to a baseball cap 700 according to one embodiment of the present invention. In the embodiment depicted, a flexible PCD 710 is removably affixed to the baseball cap 700 using a fastener such as a fabric hook-and-loop fastener, such as Velcro strips 705 and 706 or a similar form of attachment. In one embodiment, the device is sufficiently flexible to conform easily to the general shape of the baseball cap 700 and the wearer's forehead.

In the embodiment depicted, the surface of the PCD 710 that will be in contact with the wearer's forehead includes one or more cool spots 712 and the opposite side includes the attachment means for attaching to the baseball cap 700 and an exposed heat sink 711.

While in the embodiment depicted, the flexible PCD 710 is illustrated as being removably attachable to the baseball cap 700 and therefore repositionable, one or more flexible PCDs may also be more permanently incorporated within a wearable article in alternative embodiments. For example, in the case of a baseball cap, the flexible PCD may be inserted through a slit in the liner, placed into a preformed pocket in the liner, or even sewn into the liner.

While for sake of brevity an exemplary garment having incorporated therein a personal heat-control device has been described with respect to a baseball cap, according to alternative embodiments of the present invention personal heat-control devices may be incorporated in or attached to various other articles of clothing, apparel, gear, headwear, footwear and/or safety or protective gear using the teachings provided herein.

FIG. 8 depicts a band 800 having a personal heat-control device according to one embodiment of the present invention. In this example, the band 800 includes a PCD 810, such as that depicted in FIG. 1 (with or without the flexible housing 110), and a strap 815, such as an elastic loop. The PCD 810 may be fitted into elastic or stretchable material or toweling for comfort and the cold surface may rest directly or indirectly against the wearer's skin. The band 800 may be worn as a head band, wrist band, or the like depending upon the size and configuration of the PCD 800 and the strap 815. According to some embodiments of the present invention, band 800 may be worn around the head with all switching on the outside of band 800.

FIGS. 9 and 10 depict a cold face 910 and a heat-dissipating control face 1020, respectively, of a personal heat-control device 900 constructed as an adaptable strip according to an alternative embodiment of the present invention. In this example, the inside (cold) face 910 exposes two cold spots 911 which may represent the cool faces of two TEC modules mounted to an internal heat transfer unit (not shown), such as a TEC module employing the Peltier Effect (as discussed earlier). According to one embodiment, the dimensions of the cold spots 911 are approximately 1 cm by 1 cm. Depending upon the cooling effect desired, however, more or fewer cold spots may be employed and/or the dimensions may be adjusted accordingly.

As described earlier, TEC modules are highly efficient heat pumps that directly convert electricity into heating and cooling power. When power is supplied to the TEC modules, the current causes one side of the TEC modules and hence one side of the personal heat-control device, i.e., the inside (cold) face 910, to absorb heat. Meanwhile, the other side of the TEC modules (the hot side) releases heat via the heat dissipating control face 1020.

In the embodiment depicted, a control circuit board 1030, one or more batteries 1011, and other personal heat-control device elements are integrated within an enclosure 915. According to one embodiment, the inside (cold) face 910 of the enclosure 915 is constructed of bonded layers of one or more of polyester (polyether), polyethylene, polypropylene, nylon, kevlar, nomex, polyacrylonitrile, cellulose, and polyurethane, or similar foams and/or fibers to provide a soft and flexible face.

According to the embodiment depicted, a heat-dissipating control face 1020 of the personal heat-control device 900 may have formed thereon one or more garment clips 1041 to facilitate attachment of the personal heat-control device 900 to a garment. A control button 1010 may also be included within the heat-dissipating control face 1020 to allow activation/deactivation of the personal heat-control device 900.

According to one embodiment, the heat-dissipating control face 1020 represents or is part of a heat sink that is thermally coupled to the hot side of the TEC modules. The heat-dissipating control face 1020 may comprise aluminum or similar conductive alloy, metal, or material, such as magnesium or copper.

FIG. 11 is a logical illustration of a distributed arrangement of components of a personal heat-control device within a garment 1100 according to one embodiment of the present invention. In this example, the components that make up the personal heat-control device include an operational switch 1110, a control circuit board (printed or otherwise) 1120, one or more TEC modules 1140, and one or more batteries 1130. The components may be distributed within and/or permanently or temporarily attached to the garment 1100.

Depending upon the particular application or garment, two or more of the components may be co-located or combined. Alternatively, the components may be further broken down into smaller sub-components, for example, individual ICs of the control circuit board 1120 may be separately deployed within the garment 1100, one or more TEC modules may be located remotely from one or more other TEC modules 1140 to provide a more distributed cooling effect. Similarly, batteries 1130 may be distributed within the garment 1100 rather than being clustered together or being placed in proximity to each other.

The operational switch 1110 is communicatively coupled to the control circuit board 1120. The control circuit board 1120 may optionally be communicatively coupled to the TEC modules 1140 to receive temperature information, for example. Such temperature information might be used to increase or decrease the duration of the heat transfer cycle and/or allow other adjustments to be made by control circuitry residing on the control circuit board 1120 to contribute to end-user comfort and/or battery preservation. The batteries 1130 provide DC power to control circuitry and/or timer circuitry resident on the control circuit board 1120 and the TEC modules 1140. According to some embodiments of the present invention, battery 1130 is a lithium-polymer battery. In some cases, a lithium-polymer battery may provide in excess of ten hours of pulsed cooling.

The control circuit board 1120 may include voltage sensing to allow the TEC modules 1140 to be shut down if the voltage being provided to the control circuit board 1120 drops below a predetermined threshold, for example below 1 volt, that would be too low to allow the correct operation of certain circuitry residing on the control circuit board 1120. Such a voltage sensing and shut off mechanism may reduce the risk of the TEC modules remaining energized during a period of time when the control circuitry is inoperable.

The operational switch 1110 may represent a solid-state electronic timing switch operable by an end-user to activate and deactivate heat transfer cycles modulated by optional electronics, such as a timer and/or other monitoring or control circuitry. According to one embodiment, the optional electronics provide timed cycling (pulsing) of the TEC modules 1140 to extend operational time per battery charge, to avoid overcooling, to increase the comfort of the user, and/or accommodate battery recovery. According to some embodiments of the present invention, control circuit board 1120 may be a programmable logic device. Control circuit board 1120 may be programmed to pulse or cycle TEC modules 1140 in certain patterns. Such patterns may be predetermined patterns, such as five to ten percent on, then ninety-five to ninety percent off. Such patterns may alternatively include sequencing two or more TEC modules on and off at different times, different durations, and/or different locations to achieve an overall “on” time of approximately five to ten percent. Such patterns may alternatively be based on real-time temperature measurements. Such patterns may be programmed via an external computing source, such as a laptop computer. According to some embodiments of the present invention, control circuit board 1120 may include a radio receiver or transceiver and be programmed and/or reprogrammed via radio signals. For example, the radio control may either be a discrete system or exist via an interface with a voice communication system. According to yet other embodiments, pulsing or cycling patterns of TEC modules 1140 may be in patterns based on intended use; for example, the “on” pulses of TEC modules 1140 may be programmed to last slightly longer to provide greater cooling during an uphill climb of a bicycle race, or to turn off during a fast downhill descent. Empirical testing has determined that, dependent upon their size and configuration, two to eight TEC modules, paired for pulsing in groups of two or three, provide optimal cooling of cephalic blood flow to the temples for ameliorating heat stroke in wearers, such as athletes, military personnel, construction workers, and firefighters. In these ways, pulsing of PCDs on a wearer's forehead may reduce negative cognitive effects associated with overheating.

According to one embodiment, the transmission of one or more of control signaling and/or status information among various of the distributed components is via wireless means. In alternative embodiments, the transmission of one or more of power, control signaling and/or status information among various of the distributed components is via one or more fine conductive wires formed as part of the material of a garment. For example, a plurality of super-fine conductive wires (individually or as twisted pairs of such threads) can be used for sewing seams of the garment or woven into the fabric (natural or artificial) of the garment. In this manner, the fabric could form transmission/communication paths among distributed components 1110, 1120, 1130, 1140 of the personal heat-control device.

FIG. 12 depicts a soft-faced and flexible personal heat-control device 1210, such as a personal cooling device (PCD), incorporated within or removably attached to a baseball cap 1200 according to an alternative embodiment of the present invention. In this example, two cold spots 1211 are located in a heat transfer portion 1215 of the PCD 1210 that is positioned along the brim of the baseball cap so as to contact the forehead of the wearer. The control and/or timing circuitry, one or more batteries, and switch (not shown) are coupled to the heat transfer portion 1215 but are located apart from the heat transfer portion 1215.

According to one embodiment, a soft-faced, H-shaped enclosure 1214 encapsulates all of the PCD components 1211 and 1215. In other embodiments, some of the PCD components may be located within the soft-faced flexible enclosure 1214 and others may be distributed and incorporated into other portions of the cap 1200.

FIG. 13 depicts representative components of a personal heat-control device according to one embodiment of the present invention, including a control circuit board 1310 having mounted thereon one or more ICs, a nickel metal hydride battery 1320 or a lithium polymer battery 1340, and one or more conductive wires 1330 to provide DC power to the components and/or provide for signaling among the components.

FIGS. 14A-B depict the inside and outside, respectively, of a cycling helmet 1400 having incorporated therein a distributed personal cooling device (PCD) according to one embodiment of the present invention. In this example, the various PCD components are distributed and incorporated into and/or affixed to the frame of the cycling helmet. Two cool spots 1411 are located proximate to a front portion 1410 of the helmet and mounted within the internal molding of the cycling helmet. The control button 1420 is located separate and apart from the cool spots 1411. The control button 1420 is affixed to a top portion of the cycling helmet 1400 within one of the vents, for example, and accessible to the wearer from the outside of the cycling helmet 1400. The encapsulated control circuit board 1430 is located proximate to the control button 1420. DC power supply 1440 is located proximate to the control circuit board. In alternative embodiments, the PCD components may be distributed, incorporated, and/or affixed to the frame of the cycling helmet in other arrangements or configurations. For example, the cold spots 1411 may be positioned elsewhere within the helmet 1400, such as against the temples or against the back of the neck. Additionally, the control button 1420 may be mounted in other locations that are convenient, such as to the visor, in the back 1460 of the helmet or on the right or left side of the helmet. PCD components may also be placed within “fit belts” of the cycling helmet, and may be programmed for racing conditions; for example, the PCD components may be programmed to turn on or off based on the cycling course profile.

FIG. 15 illustrates a cross-sectional view of an impact-resistant helmet 1500, such as a military or combat helmet, with one or more TEC modules 1510, integrated therein, according to various embodiments of the present invention. An impact-resistant outer shell 1502 protects a wearer's head from impacts such as, for example, bullet or shrapnel impacts, accidental head bumps, and debris impacts. Foam pads 1504 are attached to the inside of impact-resistant outer shell 1502; foam pads 1504 rest on the wearer's head and may serve to dampen the impact force from an object colliding with helmet 1500. For this reason, preferably no part of a personal cooling system should affect the primary purpose of helmet 1500: to increase safety by providing impact and ballistics resistance. Therefore, preferably no part of a personal cooling system should extend between a wearer's head and foam pads 1504, or between foam pads 1504 and outer shell 1502. According to some embodiments of the present invention, foam pads 1504 are interspersed on the inside of outer shell 1502 so as to leave gaps between them. According to some embodiments, TEC modules may be adapted for helmets without foam pads such as, for example, helmets with a traditional fabric web stretched across it.

According to some embodiments of the present invention, TEC modules 1510, rest against a wearer's head. TEC modules 1510 may be secured against the wearer's head by a band, such as, for example, an elasticized band 1514. Elasticized band 1514 may extend across the wearer's forehead and attach to the inside of outer shell 1502 via a removable connection 1512 such as, for example, snaps, hook-and-loop closures, pins, knots, clips, nuts, bolts, and/or magnets. Various other means may be employed to secure TEC modules 1510 against the wearer's head; for example, a removable adhesive may be applied between TEC modules 1510 and the wearer's head. Alternatively, TEC modules 1510 may be secured to an inside surface of outer shell 1502 that is not involved in providing impact-resistance. A “cold face foil” or “spreader” may be placed between the wearer's head and the TEC modules 1510 to better distribute cooling across the wearer's head.

TEC modules 1510 are held against the wearer's head with the cooling surface facing toward the wearer's head and the heating surface away from the wearer's head. Heat pipes 1506 may be thermally coupled with the heating surfaces of TEC modules 1510 on one end, and with a heat sink 1518 on the other end. Heat pipes 1506 are highly thermally conductive conduits that allow the transfer of heat from one location to another with minimal heat loss. Heat pipes 1506 may be constructed of, for example, carbon fiber and/or carbon-carbon materials and composites (e.g., LYASE). Heat pipes 1506 may be flexible heat pipes to increase durability, comfort, and/or wearability. The greater the heat loss of heat pipes 1506, the less efficient will be the cooling. To avoid interference with foam pads 1504, heat pipes 1506 may be arranged in a spider web-like pattern, a “fit belt,” and/or a “spider web-type housing,” as depicted in FIG. 15, so as to extend through the gaps between foam pads 1504. In some cases, any or all PCD components of a PCD assembly may be retro-fittable to existing helmets 1500 and helmet designs. According to some embodiments of the present invention, heat pipes 1506, TEC modules 1510, and elasticized band 1514 comprise a removable cooling unit that may be disconnected from helmet 1500 for cleaning and/or repair. According to alternative embodiments of the present invention, a very highly thermally conductive heat film may be used in addition to, or instead of, heat pipes 1506, for transferring heat from TEC modules 1510 to heat sink 1518.

According to some embodiments of the present invention, heat sink 1518 is housed within a halo 1508, or accoutrement, on top of outer shell 1502 of helmet 1500. Halo 1508 may be a ventilated external container. A direct current power source 1516 may also be situated within halo 1508. Direct current may be supplied to TEC modules 1510, for example, by connecting direct current power source 1516 with TEC modules 1510 via electrical wires. For example, the electrical wire for each TEC module 1510 may follow the same path as heat pipe 1506 for the same TEC module 1510; in some cases, the heat pipe 1506 and power source wiring may be bundled. In this way, helmet 1500 provides a generally self-contained cooling system.

While exemplary usage models for personal cooling and embodiments of personal heat-control devices have been illustrated and described herein, they are not intended to be exhaustive. Alternative embodiments of the present invention are thought to have broad applicability in the fields of leisure, fashion, healthcare, military, firefighting, construction, industry, and sport. For example, one or more portable and flexible personal heat-control devices may be incorporated within and/or removably attached to athletic apparel or gear, clothing, accessories, headwear, safety or protective gear, including, but not limited to biking shorts, biking jerseys, exercise suits, sport bras, spandex pants, shorts, tops, shirts, gloves, shoes, boots, socks, heart monitors, wrist watches, wrist bands, glasses, sunglasses, headphones, medallions, pendants, jewelry (e.g., necklaces, bracelets, anklets), uniforms, baseball caps, golf caps, protective clothing (e.g., surgeon caps, gardening hat, sun hat), police or military caps/hats or headgear, visors, head bands, hats, chemical suits, bio suits, space suits, bullet-proof vests, fire protective suits, motorcycle leathers, goggles, hard hats, motor racing helmets, motor cycle helmets, bicycle helmets, football helmets, batting helmets, skiing helmets, firemans helmets, welding goggles, riding helmets, construction helmets, and the like.

Furthermore, personal heating devices may be incorporated into or attached to ski boots, ski poles, gloves, mittens, snow shoes, snow boots, ski jackets, snow boards, skis, toboggans, sleds, sleighs, or other winter sporting/leisure equipment, accessories, or garments.

In addition to sales of personal heat-control devices built into garments, it is contemplated that personal heat-control devices will be sold as kits for insertion into or attachment to various types of garments.

According to other embodiments of the present invention, a PCD may be part of a stand-alone dedicated portable cooling device or integrated into or temporarily affixed or attached to other conventional consumer products or devices, including, but not limited to water bottles (as coolers, for example), camel back liners or bladders, cameras, key chains, pulse monitors, electric shavers, hand held razor blade holders for use with either metal or ceramic blades, key FOBs, pendants, mobile phones, pagers, personal digital assistants, spectacles, hearing aids, jewelry, etc.

Optionally, the personal heat-control device may include timers or EL devices. Their operation can be modulated by one or more IC chips. For example, the PCD could employ a timing device modulated by an IC chip to periodically activate cooling for a predetermined (e.g., 10, 15, 30 seconds) or user-adjustable amount of time. Additionally, the timing device may control the minimum time between operations in order to allow batteries to recover and/or allow appropriate heat dissipation. According to one embodiment, the TEC modules may operate in accordance with multiple modes of pulsed operation, e.g., a single cold pulse per cycle or multiple pulses per cycle.

EL technology (electro-luminescence) can be incorporated into a personal heat-control device according to one embodiment of the present invention. For example, a strobe light of white, red or blue color can be used to accompany the operation of a PCD to indicate, among other things, the “on” state of the personal heat-control device and cooling or heating operation of the personal heat-control device. Pulsating strobe lights can be modulated by an IC chip. The voltage needed for the strobe lights can be produced by, for example, high frequency power converters.

Various other embodiments of the present invention are described below.

It has long been accepted that overheating in humans leads to their distress, accompanied by both physical (e.g. head edema, dehydration, decreased muscle efficiency, heat exhaustion, heat stroke) and mental impairments (e.g. decreased attention, vigilance and reaction time) and even leading to death. This problem is most seriously identified by excessive temperature increases to the cephalic (head) regions. In recent years this distress has been most identifiable and measurable in sporting performances. It has been ascertained that heat stroke is the second largest cause of death in athletes. Heat stroke is a true medical emergency brought on by markedly elevated body temperature (>105° F.) that can result from heavy exceptional activity in conjunction with high temperatures and humidity and which can be exacerbated by the wearing of head gear. In addition, mental impairment has been shown to set in at a body temperature of just 100.4° F. with complete disruption of neural function by 107.6-115.7° F. As such this is a real concern for military personnel. Soldiers typically have to deal with all of these elements including wearing a protective helmet, whose structure is not ideal (with its heavy Kevlar construction, little ventilation and thermal insulating qualities), in the battlefield. Thus, soldiers in active combat in hot climates will as a direct result of wearing a combat helmet, suffer (to one degree or another) from an inability to fully perform in accordance with their highest standards, because their response times will have been slowed and their decision making skills impaired. A leap in modern military apparel may be achieved with the development of the Personal Cooling Device (PCD). Embodiments of a PCD system may provide the military services with a pioneering tool that when integrated into the modern combat helmet will enable control of the user's cephalic blood core temperature. This capability could prove to be invaluable in the battlefield, by providing the means to eliminate the aforementioned physical and cognitive impairments associated with heat stress, suffered by helmet wearers.

PCD technology combines features of thermoelectric cooling, heat ducting/dissipation techniques and innovative operational patterns, and may be used in an advanced cooling system. Embodiments of the present invention are a safety device, designed to save lives and improve the physical and mental performance of the wearer as well as enhance overall comfort. Specifically, an active cooling technology with no fans, sprays or crystals may be achieved. Reliable cooling may be achieved with no moving parts. The Personal Cooling Device (PCD) may be installed either within new combat helmets or be retro-fitted within existing units. Unlike previous attempts to install cooling within headwear, the PCD may provide pulsed thermoelectric cooling to the forehead and temples for in excess of 10 hours of continuous operation between battery re-charging, thus meeting the requirements for “day long” wearing.

The integration of high capacity lithium polymer re-chargeable battery technology with multiple TEC modules, together with an efficient heat pipe/heat sink arrangement, may enable a suitable heat pump assembly, which may add less than 3% to the weight of a Kevlar combat helmet. According to some embodiments of the present invention, such an assembly should not impinge upon the impact resistant qualities of the helmet and as such should not come into contact with the helmet shell, under any reasonable impact conditions, even indirectly via the removable impact pads located within the helmet.

Some possible features of a PCD system according to various embodiments of the present invention may include:

Pulsed operation—pulsing of the PCD system may be more in harmony with the natural pulsing of blood throughout the cephalic regions and as such may enable more efficient cooling. It may be seen to resemble ‘the rolling of a cold can of soda across the forehead and temples’ a sensation often welcomed in hot and humid conditions. In addition, embodiments of a PCD's pulsed cooling action may provide advantages over other systems: 1) the ‘on/off’ comfort factor that is more conducive to the user than the unpleasant stinging sensation usually experienced with any constant and widespread cephalic cooling; 2) the ‘off’ phase allows sufficient time for the heat to be dissipated from the assembly; and 3) the ‘off’ phase also allows the battery to recover its ability to efficiently discharge its full capacity, thereby extending the period of operation between re-charging.

Long-life—embodiments of the present invention capitalize on the use of modern lithium polymer high capacity re-chargeable batteries, which depending upon the set pulse operation pattern can provide more than ten hours of continuous pulsed use, meeting the requirements for ‘day-long’ wearing without recharge.

Elimination of mechanisms—eases integration, enables high reliability standards and reduces weight.

Rugged construction—can be made to be very rugged and robust in construction to meet the demands of the field.

Configurable—easily installed within helmets, new or retro-fitted within existing units. The lithium polymer batteries may be molded to suit the curves of a helmet.

Lightweight—may add less than 3% to the weight of a helmet.

A conceptual drawing of one possible embodiment of the PCD system housed in a military combat helmet is shown in FIG. 16. Embodiments of a PCD assembly may comprise four components: 1) TEC modules, 2) heat sinks & heat pipes, 3) control panel (with switching) and 4) DC power. An embodiment as illustrated for integrating the PCD system into a combat helmet involves using a ‘spider web’ lining construction, such as the use of an elasticized webbing design that provides the means to hold the TEC modules, foil ‘spreaders’, heat pipes and wiring in place. In addition, due to the ‘spider web’ being tensioned, this arrangement may also ensure that the pulsed cold faces of the TEC modules obtain full contact with the forehead and temples of the user, possibly via a foil linking the TEC modules to spread the cooling surface. The suspended nature of the ‘spider web’ assembly may also prevent the PCD system from contacting the helmet shell or the foam impact pads so as not to impinge upon the helmet's impact resistant qualities. The internal components of the PCD system may be attached to the helmet with Velcro. It can also be seen from FIG. 16 that the proposed PCD system design concept retains the impact pad arrangement (normally six) within the helmet to provide safety cushioning and comfort, and incorporates six TEC modules and two heat pipe conduits that carry the expelled heat to two heat sinks which are mounted externally on either side of the helmet's shell but within an accouterment housing that is louvered for ventilation and protected from solar radiation.

Each application of TEC modules to garments may have different requirements. For example, the dissipation of heat from the open gauze of a heavy fencing mask involved issues of constant removal of the mask, together with the fact that the mask was often thrown off onto the ground (following referee's decisions). Therefore, TEC modules had to be accurately located and made robust. TEC module installation within an open lattice road cycling helmet involved aerodynamic issues, weight and impact issues, and TEC module installation into a cricket helmet had enclosure issues not unlike a combat helmet.

According to some embodiments of the present invention, efficient heat pipes may be flexible and fabricated as a laminate of polypropylene, metal and adhesive layers or may involve a carbon fiber braiding, encased in an epoxy polymer matrix. Improved dissipation of heat may require thermally conductive adhesives between each component through the ‘chain’ of conductivity.

A battery or power source may be selected to be ultra lightweight and to have a prolonged life. For example, 3.5 volt nickel metal hydride batteries or the very latest lightweight (˜21 g) 3.7 volt lithium polymer high capacity re-chargeable batteries may be used with various embodiments of the present invention, which, depending upon the set pulse pattern, provide up to 10 hours of continuous pulsed operation.

Empirical research has indicated that the comfort factor may be addressed successfully when thermoelectrically induced ‘cold spots’ are pulsed at their normal operating temperature of between −2° C. (28° F.) and 8° C. (47° F.). It has been further noted that when the temperature of the ‘hot face’ of a 17 couple TEC module rises to 15° C. (60° F.) above the ambient air temperature, the heat pump action may fail to perform efficiently and may result in a ‘back flow’ to the cold face. This potential may be monitored, controlled and avoided within a PCD installation in order to achieve effective cooling under any conceivable climatic condition.

The particular embodiments disclosed above are illustrative only, as the invention can be modified and practiced in different but equivalent manners apparent to those skilled in the art having the benefit of the teachings herein. Furthermore, no limitations are intended to the details of construction or design herein shown, other than as described in the claims below. It is therefore evident that the particular embodiments disclosed above may be altered or modified and all such variations are considered within the scope and spirit of the invention. Accordingly, the protection sought herein is as set forth in the claims below.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification62/3.5, 62/259.3
International ClassificationF25D23/12, F25B21/02, F25D17/00, A61F7/02, A61F7/00, A62B17/00
Cooperative ClassificationA42C5/04, F25B2600/07, A62B17/005, F25B21/04, F25D2400/26, A41D13/005, A61F2007/0292, A61F2007/0078, F25B23/006, A61F2007/0075, A42B3/285, A61F2007/0084, A61F2007/0002, F25B2321/0212, F25B2321/025, F25B2600/01, A61F2007/0035
European ClassificationA62B17/00F, A42C5/04, A41D13/005, F25B23/00C, F25B21/04, A42B3/28C
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Feb 10, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: ITS KOOL, LLC, COLORADO
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:ARNOLD, ANTHONY PETER;REEL/FRAME:016282/0759
Effective date: 20050210