Embr Wave photo courtesy of Covestro.

Are you always the coldest person in the room? Or are you one of those people who feels overheated even when it’s snowing? Relief is only one gadget away: Meet the Embr Wave.

The Embr Wave is essentially a high-tech version of wrapping a cold washcloth around your neck on a hot day. The thinking goes like this: When even small temperature sensations are applied to specific areas of the body with a high concentration of nerve endings, like the inner wrist, they can quickly and noticeably change a person’s inner climate.

So if you could wear something on your wrist that changes your temperature in that one sensitive spot, then your whole body would experience the warming or cooling impact.

Working from this simple concept, researchers at Embr Labs in Boston have been building the underlying technology for Embr Wave since 2013 when many of their principal designers were engineering students at MIT.

Once they had the designs for a warming/cooling plate that stays in contact with the skin (similar to a Fitbit), they worked on turning their innovative tech into something comfortable, stylish and very user-friendly. For assistance, they looked to Covestro, the high-tech polymer and plastics company with a large and long-standing Pittsburgh presence.

“We turned to Covestro to help select the right material and optimize the design for optical performance,” says Embr Labs co-founder Sam Shames.

According to Covestro, Embr’s notion of “optical performance” in particular drew them to the project. Rather than using words or icons, the Embr Wave communicates with the user through a screen of simple LED lights that change color depending on the temperature.

“Instead of using text or symbols, color and light are simple, minimalist — yet effective — means to convey information to the user,” says Joel Matsco senior marketing manager with Covestro. His company has “deep expertise in helping brands and electronics manufacturers design with light,” so this was a perfect fit.

While the Embr Wave has been available online for several months at a cost of $299, it is likely to reach a new level of visibility this week as Covestro hosts Embr Labs at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. There, the Embr team will present their work to thousands of tech aficionados.

For more information on the research behind the gadget or to shop for one, click here.

Bill O'Toole was a full-time reporter for NEXTpittsburgh until October, 2019. He previously reported in Myanmar.