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  • Lawrence Ng

How Does ST Engineering’s Wearable Aircon Measure Up Against Its Competition?

Singapore's ST Engineering may have manufactured the world's best wearable aircon... or did they?

Credit: INNOVD / ST Engineering

The Singapore-based engineering group recently unveiled a number of its projects to the public in this year's Singapore Airshow, which will be held from 15 February to 18 February 2022. One of these projects, the ARC, is a battery-operated wearable aircon designed for people working in high-temperature areas such as garages, poorly-ventilated workspaces and piers, to name a few. Medical, military and police personnel can also benefit from the ARC's features even when they're wearing personal protective equipment and armour, respectively.

Credit: ST Engineering

The device helps the wearer regulate their temperature by cooling their neck and face areas using ST Engineering's Thermal-Flow technology, which provides "instant cooling in seconds". According to ST Engineering's website, the ARC's cooling plate is at least 3-5 times more thermally conductive than metal and can cool a large area by at least 8-degrees Celcius continuously. Additionally, the ARC's front blowers are turbocharged to help relieve heat from the neck and face, accelerating the cooling rate of sweat by two or three times.

As such, the ARC could cool down its wearer's body to 28-degrees Celcius from a normal body temperature of 36-degrees in one minute of use. The ARC's front cooling is also capable of cooling the neck and face part of the wearer in just 30 seconds.

However, while the ARC is the only wearable aircon as big as it is, there are a number of its kind being sold in the market already, which may or may not be doing as good a job as the ARC.

A picture of Sony's Reon Pocket. This portable air conditioner is usually slid inside the pocket of a specially-designed shirt so it can work as intended. Credit: Sony

For instance, Sony's Reon Pocket may be lighter and significantly smaller than ST Engineering's ARC, but it is also less effective. Although you'll feel cooler when using it on a hot summer day, you'll still be sweating by the time you get home, before we even say anything of the Reon Pocket's two-hour battery life.

Sony also released an updated version of the Reon Pocket called the Reon Pocket 2. According to the company, the new Reon Pocket has newly designed internals that can achieve up to twice the level of heat absorption when compared to its predecessor, resulting in a more powerful cooling performance. However, we can't say if the device is better than the ARC as reviews for it are limited due to it being only available in Japan at the moment.

Although the ARC doesn't hinder people's work while they wear it, it may be cumbersome to wear and take off, especially when you're in a rush, not to mention when you're replacing the battery. ST Engineering didn't specify how long the ARC's battery life would be, even on its website.

A picture of Jisulife's portable neck fan. / Credit: Jisulife

For this, Jisulife's portable neck fan may be a quick solution for people always on the go. This wearable aircon may not cool down your back as the ARC does, but it is lightweight, has four to 16 hours of battery life, is bladeless and is easily worn around the neck. However, people looking to use this during and after workout sessions may have to look at other options.

If you are looking for a wearable aircon while working out, the Veamor Portable Neck Fan could be the one you're looking for. This neck fan not only features a bladeless fan that you can adjust but also has a band that can be flexed. The silica gel band is sweatproof, providing you with comfort while working out. Although Veamor's neck fan only has around six to eight hours of battery life, that should be more than enough for workout sessions.

If you do run out of battery charge, you can plug the Veamor Portable Neck Fan into a USB charger, giving you lots of options on how to charge it.

TORRAS's portable air conditioner may be expensive, but it is arguably the coldest one in the market. / Credit: Torras

Finally, if you think the ARC might not be cooling enough for you, then the TORRAS Coolify Portable Air Conditioner might be the one you want. It has bladeless fans that could cool its wearer's neck and face by up to 12-degrees Celcius instantly. The fans also have three speeds that you can use.

The TORRAS Coolify Portable Air Conditioner also has around eight hours of battery life and USB charging, just like the Veamor Portable Neck Fan. However, unlike Veamor's neck fan, the TORRAS Coolify Portable Air Conditioner comes with a price tag of US$149 thanks to its Ku Peltier Radiator, which feels like an ice pack on your skin. This radiator is what makes TORRAS's neck fan more expensive than the neck fans previously covered.

Although these wearable air conditioners may be more portable, colder, and easily charged than ST Engineering's ARC, you have to remember that these wearable air conditioners only cover one or two areas of the upper body - the neck and face. The ARC's cooling covers not only those areas but the back as well. Because of this, the ARC is a step up from the wearable air conditioners we covered.

Hopefully, the ARC will be available to the general public as well in the future, and not just as a commercial device.

  • ST Engineering recently revealed the ARC, a personal cooler that cools the wearer's back, neck and face in 30 to 60 seconds.

  • The ARC is designed for people working in high-temperature environments such as poorly-ventilated spaces, garages and outdoor assignments.

  • The ARC has some competition in the Personal Cooler market with Sony's Reon Pocket and Reon Pocket 2, the Jisulife Portable Neck Fan, the Veamor Portable Neck Fan and more competing in a similar space.

  • However, these wearable air conditioners only cover one or two parts of the upper body - the neck and face. ST Engineering's ARC covers not only those but the back as well, giving it a leg up when compared with other wearable air conditioners.

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