We’ve all felt the discomfort of sitting through a meeting in an over-chilled office or sweating through a commute in a crowded subway car. Fortunately, the founders at Embr are looking to help you warm up or cool down in a pinch with their new personalized thermal relief bracelet.
MedTech Boston sat down with Embr co-founder Sam Shames to discuss their product and their recently launched Kickstarter.
How did you conceive of the idea for Embr?
We started as a student project at MIT trying to help buildings save energy by heating and cooling people directly just like putting an ice cube on your wrist. We quickly discovered that there’s a much more immediate value proposition: thermal relief. Access to the perfect heating or cooling sensation when you are too hot or cold makes you feel more comfortable.
How does Embr work?
Embr Wave works on the insight that heating and cooling one spot of the body can make you more comfortable without changing your core temperature. It’s just like warming your hands with a hot drink or dipping your toes in cold water.
Two years ago you participated in Medstro’s Google Wearables in Healthcare Pilot Challenge. How did your participation in a Medstro challenge help you?
Participating in the 2015 Google Wearables for Healthcare Pilot Challenge was a valuable learning experience for our early-stage hardware company. The winning proposal was a new idea to us, which came from two doctors in training at Dartmouth, Courtney Hill and Allison Arensman. Without Medstro motivating this interdisciplinary conversation, we wouldn’t have considered using our technology in hospitals and operating rooms to improve comfort of the hospital staff. They were instrumental in helping us understand the unmet thermal needs of hospital staff. We conducted initial pilots and decided that our prototypes were not ready for field testing in such an environment.
In less than 24 hours you raised almost 3X your Kickstarter goal of $100K. Did you anticipate that support for your product would be so strong?
We knew we had a strong community of supporters, but we didn’t expect we would get this many backers this quickly. It’s amazing to have earned the trust of so many people and to have the opportunity to help them harness the power of personalized temperature.
What are your plans after the Kickstarter is complete?
We’ll continue working with our manufacturer to fulfill these orders as quickly as possible; transition to sales on our own website; and we’ll continue researching the many ways in which personalized temperature can improve human well being.
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