Hot and Cold

Tired of those passive-aggressive office thermostat wars?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Summer is here! That means sleeveless dresses and sandals can come back out of the closet! But then you remember… That guy in the office who ALWAYS turns the thermostat to sixty-five! Are you doomed to wear those boring, frumpy sweaters all year long??

Fear not! A research team from the University of California, Irvine led by Erica Leung has a temperate solution!

They’ve designed a fabric that can act as your personal thermostat. Their inspiration? SQUID!
They have skin that works just like TV screens, but with tiny color islands instead of pixels. These islands can expand and contract to show off or hide their color.

Leung’s fabric does the same for heat. How? Instead of colors, the islands are made of metal. Normally, the metal islands are bunched together and trap heat like a blanket.

But stretch the fabric and the metal islands spread apart. That allows heat to escape and makes the wearer feel cooler.

With a personal cooling system built into his Friday casuals, maybe your colleague will keep his mitts off the thermostat! And peace will reign in the office!

Not so much for the puppy calendars!