The technology behind CORE – thermal energy transfer sensors
Technology is a critical element of CORE which noninvasively monitors core body temperature. CORE uses a new type of thermal energy transfer sensor specifically designed by our partner greenTEG for this purpose. Accurate noninvasive tracking of core body temperature has proven to be difficult but with the new CORE thermal energy transfer approach, we have overcome the hurdles that others have struggled with.
What is thermal energy transfer and why is it important?
As humans we really don’t sense temperature – we sense thermal energy transfer. For example, touch a piece of foam and a piece of metal – they feel like they have different temperatures when in fact they are the same. What you are really sensing is energy transfer – or we can say more energy being removed by the metal than the foam.
More specifically – thermal energy transfer is a well-known effect created by temperature differences in a given system. It always goes from the hot to the cold side of a material and requires a medium through which the heat is flowing. In our case, we are speaking about a solid medium, the human body, performing an activity in the open air. Heat goes either from the body to the surroundings (when the environment is colder than the body), or in the opposite way (when the body is colder than the environment).
Hence, thermal energy transfer becomes a good way to understand how the heat goes in our out the body. If both cases the body systems are working to keep the temperature stable, creating power in the process to either warm-up or cold down the whole system.
This process is well-known for all the athletes: it takes a lot more energy to perform physical activities in cold or hot environments. We need to either create warm in the body or cold it down through sweat. More energy needs more body effort. And more effort demands more from athletes. In these conditions, a lot more is required to achieve the same results.
Knowing how this system works will likely help the athletes improve their performance, especially during high-demand activities, such as long-distance races. However, there is not an easy way to track the real-time of these processes. This is the gap we want to fill in with our thermal energy transfer sensor.
How does a thermal energy transfer sensor work?
A thermal energy transfer sensor is a device based on the Seebeck effect: when heat passes through the sensor, it generates a voltage signal proportional to the energy passing through. Tracking this signal allows measuring the overall transfer in real-time.
The basics are simple: if we put a thermal energy transfer sensor on the skin, we can measure the energy going through it. The data extracted will help to understand the overall system, including the relationship between body temperature, heat transfer with the environment, and energy consumption. These three elements create a balance that preserves the health of the body.
Knowing this balance will likely help athletes to get more efficiency, using energy to create more power rather than keeping the overall system stable in terms of core body temperature. That means better training, better performance, and less risk of strokes or system collapse.
Not bad. With CORE athletes will be able to get more insights to understand their body, preserving the health and getting it right when it comes to effort and power.
CORE’s novel thermal energy transfer technology
As good as it sounds, there is still a missing piece: the size. Existing sensors are too big for a wearable device. The smallest is the size of a small coin, something impossible to embed into a smartwatch or a patch. To solve this issue, At CORE we have a proprietary technology that makes the difference. We are using greenTEG's core body temperature sensor: the world’s first core body temperature sensor for continuous and non-invasive measurements. It is a miniaturized sensor that allows for the first time to embed thermal energy transfer sensor capabilities into a wearable. This innovative piece of tech makes possible, for the first time, to add core body temperature tracking to wearables.
Is that all? Of course, not! This is only the basics of our design. We need still to go through clinical testing, prototyping, and field testing. A lot is coming, stay tuned!