Feeling hot or cold? This solar-powered self-cooling or warming suit might help

With 2023 on track to be the hottest on record, researchers from China have devised an answer to extreme heat, creating solar-powered clothing capable of providing personal cooling.

Publishing in Science, the authors say: “This self-powered wearable thermoregulatory platform has a simple structure, compact design, high efficiency, and strong self-adaptability with sunlight as the sole energy source”.

The clothing is designed to help humans survive hot and cold extremes and could help them stay safe and comfortable – when in polar regions, space, and on extreme temperature days.

The all-day suit incorporates flexible solar photovoltaics and a high-efficiency heat transfer device. The system “exhibits highly efficient and fast performance in both cooling and warming modes as needed,” according to the paper.

The thermoregulatory clothing “can extend the human thermal comfort zone from 22° to 28°C to 12.5°to 37.6°C with a fast thermoregulation rate,” the study finds.

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Illustration of the solar-powered thermoregulatory clothing / Credit: Wang et al publishing in Science

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