2019 to 2020
12 Weeks
Team Project
Role l Research, CAD Drafting, Physical Prototyping, Photography & Editorial
Cities are getting hotter and heatwaves are becoming more common causing people to rely on Air Conditioners to cool down. This approach is energy-demanding, inefficient and polluting. Saiga is a wearable that reduces dependence on Air Conditioners by changing our perception of the temperature around us through breathing cold air and cooling the neck by conduction.
Watch full project video here.
Aesthetic Prototype
An aesthetic prototype of the final design was developed with three key features in mind. Firstly, specific locations on the neck are cooled by conduction, providing a refreshing and cooling feeling. Secondly, as air is inhaled through the mouthpiece, the body is cooled from the inside out. Finally, the device is activated when sweat is detected, allowing it to work in harmony with the body.
Technical Prototype
The first two ideas were brought together into a working prototype that uses Peltier chips to provide the cooling to the neck, and a phase change material to cool the air for breathing.
Cooling air to 10°C proved to be very challenging, but on the other hand, the Peltier system was easy to control, gave a strong level of sensation and was able to run at a time-averaged power of under 2W making it a very low power approach to cooling people down.
The final experiment was conducted in a 35°C room with 10 participants.
Participants’ thermal comfort improved when they used the prototype.
How Should We Cool Down?
The project began with a varied set of experiments looking into personal cooling systems that would cool just the person, rather than the whole environment around them. What stood out were the concepts that changed a person’s perception of temperature, rather than actually cooling them down.
Two notable approaches were localised cooling on the skin and breathing cold air. Further experiments found that cooling the back and sides of the neck at 25°C and breathing cold air at 10°C provided the highest change in perception and improvement in thermal comfort.
Special Thanks
Dr. Edwin Chilvers
Head of the National Heart and Lung Institute
Imperial College London
Dr. Joanna Porter
Respiratory and General Medicine
University College Hospital
Prof. Jeremy Brown
Respiratory and General Medicine
University College Hospital
Dr. Hung Ching Hsia
Department of Physical Therapy
National Cheng Kung University

Harry Barber
Nacho Vilanova
Wei Haw Huang
RCA Work-In-Progress Show 2020
Imperial College London
Work-In-Progress Show 2020


Nominee (Pending Results)
Green Concept Award 2021
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